How age affects the activity level of dogs

There have been numerous studies on the important relationship between physical activity and age in both dogs and humans. However, most studies on dogs have focused on how a dog's biological characteristics, such as weight, influence the age-activity relationship. This study goes further.
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Currently, there is limited knowledge about how this relationship may be influenced by contextual and owner-level factors. To address this gap, we analyzed a large and unique dataset from the Dog Aging Project (DAP) to explore the association between the age-activity relationship and specific dog and owner characteristics, including dog size, owner age, and living environment.

Dogs provide a valuable model for aging research due to their exposure to similar social and environmental factors as humans, albeit with a shorter lifespan. This allows researchers to observe their entire life course. Our findings reveal that older dogs tend to be less active compared to younger dogs. Additionally, rural dogs exhibit greater activity levels than suburban and urban dogs, particularly at younger ages. Furthermore, larger dogs are generally more active than smaller dogs. These findings align with previous studies. However, an unexpected finding is that older owners tend to have more active dogs than younger owners.

As one of the pioneering studies utilizing the extensive survey data from the DAP, this research sets the groundwork for future investigations aiming to deepen our understanding and identify the biological, social, and environmental factors contributing to, as well as resulting from, the aging process.

Read the full study here:

© Hannah Lee, MA, Devin Collins, MA, Kate E. Creevy, DVM, Daniel E. L. Promislow, DPhil, And Dog Aging Project Consortium