Studies have already shown that owning a pet, particularly a dog, comes with several health benefits. Dog owners were found to be healthier and live longer compared to those who don’t own pups. The reason is likely because caring for a dog encourages owners to engage in physical activities. All types of pets have also shown to decrease the stress levels of owners and improve their mental health. However, a new study suggests that owning a dog comes with a little-known risk.

According to the research published in JAMA Network, pet ownership could have a potential downside. The study has found that fractures among older adults are common and more frequent due to dog-walking. Researchers involved in the study analyzed the data gathered from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – it logs injuries reported by patients who visited a nationally representative group of 100 U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

The research revealed that about 1,700 adults (ages 65 and above) went to the emergency room due to fractures related to walking leashed dogs in 2004, while the number increased by about 4,500 in 2017. The study authors noted fractures likely occur as a result of falling or dogs lunging while they’re leashed. They also said they have an idea as to why the numbers continue to increase since 2004.

The reason behind this is positive even the result leads to more injuries, as per Dr. Jaimo Ahn from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The associate professor of orthopedic surgery said that people were aware of the health benefits brought by owning an animal. So, it isn’t a surprise that pet ownership increase over time, especially among the elderly as they tend to live longer and make efforts to live healthier.

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