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Older dog walkers are at risk for injuries: study

A U.S. study released on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, suggests broken bones from falls while dog-walking are on the rise among older adults and hip fractures are among the most common injuries. Doctors recommend assessing your strength and balance, and Fido’s obedience, before embarking on those healthful outings. | AP Photo

A new study shows broken bones from falls while dog walking are on the rise among older U.S. adults.

Hip fractures are among the most common injuries.

University of Pennsylvania researchers examined government data on emergency room visits for dog walking injuries in adults aged 65 and older. The numbers jumped from almost 1,700 in 2004 to about 4,400 in 2017.

Injuries typically happen when a dog pulls on a leash and walkers lose their balance.

Research shows that dogs can be good companions for older adults and can help them stay active. So doctors say before embarking on those healthful outings, older patients should consider strength training for themselves and obedience training for their dogs.

The dog walking study was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery