There are plenty of known health benefits attributed to owning a pet – particularly if it’s from the canine species – based on a variety of widely recognized studies. People who rear dogs as pets reportedly enjoy higher life spans and better overall health compared to those who don’t, partly due to the fact that nurturing a dog promotes an active lifestyle. Furthermore, pets as a whole have been documented to reduce the stress levels of their handlers and enhance their mental well-being as well.
A recent research letter released in JAMA Surgery, however, provides another angle at the possible disadvantages of owning an animal companion. With the elderly, fractures associated with walking dogs are amazingly prevalent and increasing on a regular basis, based on its findings. Researchers analyzed a collection of information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which records physical damages conveyed by patients who visited a countrywide representative collection of one hundred hospital emergency rooms in the USA. During 2014, nearly 1,700 adults aged 65 or higher were admitted to the ER for fractures linked to walking leashed canine pets, they uncovered. Three years later in 2017, the number has grown to nearly triple at 4,500
People, especially the elderly, are prone to fractures brought about by falls or dogs leaping as they are leashed, the authors wrote – they likewise possess a number of theories that would explain the rise of such incidence starting from 2004. Dr. Jaimo Ahn, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, shares that the causes that explain the small increase is possibly positive, regardless if the final outcome – increased incidence of injuries – is negative.
“People intuitively know many of the benefits of animal companionship,” Dr. Ahn pointed out in an email sent to TIME. “Not surprisingly, pet ownership has increased over time, including among the elderly, who are living longer and taking efforts to live healthier — all good things.”
Nevertheless, the studies still point out that the dangers of rearing pets should not be overlooked, especially for elderly men and women. Nearly 1/3 of the senior citizens who were injured in the study were confined to the hospital and almost 1/5 endured fractures to the hip area. The kind of fracture is “associated with long-term decreases in quality of life and functional capabilities, as well as mortality rates approaching 30%,” the authors write. “As we get older, we should consider both the risks and benefits of the physical activity we desire and make sure we’re safely and thoughtfully up for the challenge,” Dr. Ahn shares.
Walking pet dogs provide elderly people with a great opportunity to evaluate – and, if need be, enhance – their personal strength, walking capacity and general well-being and at the same time their pet’s conduct, he revealed.
“There are so many benefits from pet ownership, but just like everything else, there are negatives to potentially consider,” Ahn exclaims.