Injuries on the rise for elderly dog walkers

Walking your dog is a great way for you both to stay mentally and physically fit but these healthy outings can come at a cost according to a recent study.

Many dog walkers, often elderly and those with reduced balance, can be seriously hurt when a dog suddenly bots.

Research published in JAMA surgery earlier this year estimates that the number of dog walking fractures in people aged 65 and older more than doubled between 2004 and 2017, with an increase of 10% in older adults.

The injuries often occur when the walker left holding the lead, absorbs all the sudden energy from the dog rushing off ahead, often resulting in strains and even broken bones from trying to control their pet.

Of the people included in the survey, 70% of the victims were female which is due to the fact that older women tend to have weaker bones than older men.

Hip fractures accounted for 17% of the fractures with wrist, arm and fingers the next in frequency. People aged 65 to 75 accounted for almost half of the injuries according to the study.

Leading dog behaviour and training experts Company of Animals shares some tips on how to avoid possible injury no matter what age you are.

Don’t wrap the lead – never wrap the lead around your wrist or fingers. It may seem like you have a safer grip but if your dog takes off quickly you will not have enough time to unwrap the lead which could cause fractures or harmful friction against your skin.

Walking vs wheels – you may be confident on your bike, scooter or rollerblading, but when you are on wheels your balance is already affected compared to walking. If you are exercising your pet while you are on wheels, the rapid movement and unpredictability of your pet can cause you to fail if you are not careful.

Wear the right shoes – making sure you have the right footwear is always an important consideration. Flip flops and wedges add an element of instability and sudden movement by your dog while on an uneven path could result in disaster. Stick to boots, comfortable shoes or trainers with a lot of tread to ensure you have the best grip possible.

Pay attention – the most common reasons for people falling is often due to lack of concentration. It’s easy to get distracted to a friend on your mobile or taking a picture of some pretty scenery but keeping vigilant can help avoid an unnecessary fall.

Consider a harness – The Halti No Pull Harness for example, provides the best possible control for owners with dogs that are prone to pulling on the lead. The unique design of the harness incorporates both a stop-pull lifting feature connected to the back of the harness and for stronger pulling dogs, an optional front chest attachment, that provides even more control for a dog owner when used with a duel-clip lead.

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