May 16, 2023
Walking your dog on a leash could lead to more than accidental falls and bruises. Indeed, a study recently conducted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has found that one of the risks of dog walking by adult owners—especially, by elderly women—is traumatic brain injury, reports Sky News.
Researchers found that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) were the second most common injury among adults. The other most common injuries were finger fractures and shoulder sprains or strains.
The study revealed that those aged 65 and older were more likely to sustain serious injuries than others from different age groups— more than three times more likely to fall and more than twice as likely to have a fracture.
Injuries that happened the most were caused when the adult holding the leash fell after being pulled, tangled in, or tripped by the leash connected to a dog they were walking.
The 20-year study noted that injuries increased by a huge amount over the time period and researchers think this may be due to the rise of dog owners.
The team hopes its findings will promote awareness among dog owners and encourage doctors to discuss the possible injuries linked to dog walking.
Senior author Edward McFarland said: “Clinicians should be aware of these risks and convey them to patients, especially women and older adults.
“We encourage clinicians to screen for pet ownership, assess fracture and fall risk, and discuss safe dog walking practices at regular health maintenance visits for these vulnerable groups.
Ridge Maxson, the study’s first author, added: “Dog ownership also increased significantly in recent years during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although dog walking is a common daily activity for many adults, few studies have characterized its injury burden. We saw a need for more comprehensive information about these kinds of incidents.”
This study has been published in the National Library of Medicine.
Research contact: @SkyNews