The good news: Taking your dog for a walk happens to be a fantastic way for older adults to achieve some really good activity. The bad news is: Elder people have a much higher possibility of falling and fracturing bones while walking their dog. Which is less in younger persons.

What is the big deal: It turns out that Americans over the age of 65 sustain more bone fractures, while walking their dog. Between 2004 – 2017, a University of Pennsylvania study found that their emergency room data increased over this period of time. This data proves elders have a greater risk of falling if age 65 or greater while walking their dog. The increase is in the numbers of bone fractures, including wrists, arms and shoulders and a few hip fractures. You have a lot of older folks in pain that you never would believe possible. This study showed that elders have unexpected trauma during this innocent activity. The facts show it is true.

What to do to prevent broken bones: If you own a hard to control dog you should consider obedience training. At night, walk in well-lighted areas, wear sturdy shoes, no flip-flops, make every effort to not be distracted, such as using a mobile phone. Be aware of your surroundings, watch for anything that attracts your dog’s attention. DO NOT wrap the leash around your hand; you want to be able to release the leash and dog quickly and not be dragged into a falling position, nor become twisted in your dogs’ leash which is a cause of several falls.
If you’re thinking of getting a dog, consider a small dog as they are easier to control when walking and consider participating in balance training.

Dr. Ridgway is author of The Truth About Dog and Cat Treatments And Anomalies available at Email your question to him at