How Dog Walking Injuries Are Increasing Among Older Adults

Over recent years, dog-walking injuries have increased.  In the last 13 years, the number of elderlies who have suffered an injury this way has gone up by a staggering 150%.

By Guest Blogger, Nickey Pickorita

Going out for a walk is beneficial for everyone’s health, both humans and animals. It’s a fantastic method to improve your overall wellbeing. Walking your dog shouldn’t be an obligation, but a moment in time in which you can bond and enjoy your time together. Over recent years, dog-walking injuries have increased. The University of Pennsylvania conducted comprehensive research and found a significant increase in dog leash injuries among older people. In the last 13 years, the number of elderlies who have suffered an injury this way has gone up by a staggering 150%.

NEISS’s database provided all the information they needed for this study. The mentioned database gathers information regarding the people who have suffered product-related or activity injuries, and who ended up in the hospital because of it. Researchers have investigated the database thoroughly to find evidence of people who suffered various injuries during their routine dog walk. All emergency hospitals throughout the country were included, starting from 2004 up until 2017. The mentioned increase didn’t happen every year of the 13 years they have checked, but there is a distinguished overall rising trend in dog walking injuries.

The study discovered that hip pain from dog walking is the most common injury, along with lower back pain from dog pulling. Additionally, shoulder injuries from dog walking are widespread, as well as dog leash wrist injuries. Almost 30% of the dog pulling injuries are severe enough to require immediate medical attention and hospital stay.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, please consider hiring a reliable dog walker for the time being until you are fully healed.

Avoid Dog Walking Injuries and Stay Safe

We would all like to avoid any kind of injury, especially when we’re walking our furry friends, but sometimes things can be out of our control. If you want to prevent dog walking elbow pain, shoulder pain after dog pulling the leash, or any other common dog walking injuries, make sure to take all necessary precautions. Pay close attention to these tips so you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable walking time with your puppy:

Use the adequate leash:

It’s of crucial importance to use the most appropriate strap when walking your dog. In case the rope is too short, your dog will continuously pull since a short leash doesn’t allow enough personal space and mobility options to your furry friend.

Moreover, if the strap is too long, your dog will undoubtedly be undisciplined during the walk. If you have a small dog, retractable leashes are a great solution. It’s advisable not to wrap the leash around your wrist and hand to avoid dog walking elbow pain.

Know your capabilities:

In case your dog belongs to a large breed and weighs more than you do, and if it sees a cat, you could quickly become a sled. The best precaution is to make sure that your physique is good enough for walking your dog safely. If your large dog or even a couple of dogs are too much for you alone to handle appropriately, you should get help.

Always be on high alert:

Avoid all distractions like talking to by-passers or using your mobile phone when you’re out for a walk with your dog. Pay attention to your pet to better understand what’s going on within their head. A lot of injuries usually occur when the owners don’t pay attention and accidentally trip over their pets and fall.

Be prepared for certain situations:

When sudden movement occurs, you must be ready so you could respond to these situations appropriately. For example, a lot of dogs will undoubtedly get overly excited when they spot another dog, and they will most probably pull their leash and you with it very hard toward the other dog. You must be ready to hold your ground along with tightening the leash to avoid any unpleasant situations or injuries.

Teach Your Dog to Safely Walk Alongside You on a Leash 

Training a dog to behave and walk alongside you when on the leash should happen while your dog is still a puppy. Like humans, dogs learn much faster when they’re younger, and they’re much more comfortable to train at that age. It doesn’t mean that older dogs can’t learn how to behave during a walk, but they require more time to learn than puppies do.

The best approach to teach your dog to walk next to you is to stand your ground firmly when he’s pulling. Allowing your dog to stretch the leash to maximum length, and holding your firm position will alarm your dog to pay attention to you. In case your pet ignores you and keeps on pulling – remain firmly still. When you get his attention, and when your dog comes closer to you, reward him with a treat. Once you have your dog’s attention, continue your walk, but encourage him to remain close to you with your voice. If your notice the lead is loose, be sure to reward your dog. In case the pulling begins again, repeat the previous step. Do not move until you regain his attention.

Repeat these steps every time your dog tightens and pulls the leash. However, don’t forget always to reward your furry friend when he comes back closer to you. When something else grabs their attention, they will undoubtedly pull the leash hard, and your job is to teach them that they won’t get what they want by doing so. You can also use some of their toys to train them. If the dog starts pulling to reach the toy, you must stay put and call your pet to come back closer to you. In case he listens, let him have the toy, but if not, you shouldn’t allow him to get his reward.

This training technique is the best way to teach your dog that pulling the leash won’t get them what or where they want. When your furry friend learns this lesson, the everyday struggle will remain in the past.

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