Tuesday November 19, 2019

Owning a Dog may help Older Adults to be more Active: Study

The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking

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Owning a dog may help older adults meet physical activity levels. Wikimedia
  • The study highlighted that pet ownership may help older people achieve higher levels of physical activity
  • The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking
  • Dog owners had fewer sedentary events in compared to non-dog owners

London June 9, 2017: Owning a dog may help older adults meet physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, researchers suggest.

The study showed that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking, taking an extra 2,760 steps per day when compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

“Over the course of a week this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity,” said lead author Philippa Dall, doctoral student at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.

Further, dog owners had fewer sedentary events — continuous periods of sitting down — than non-dog owners.

“Our results indicate that dog ownership may play an important role in encouraging older adults to walk more,” added Nancy Gee from WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition — a Britain-based research organisation.

For the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, the team used data on patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in 43 dog owners and 43 controls, aged 65 years and over.

The researchers monitored the time spent walking moderately, time spent standing, total time spent sitting, as well as the number of times people sat down and how long they sat down for.

The study highlighted that pet ownership may help older people achieve higher levels of physical activity or maintain their physical activity levels for a longer period of time, which could improve their prospects for a better quality of life, improved or maintained cognition, and perhaps, even overall longevity. (IANS)

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Want To Know If Your Dog Is Happy Or Not? Find It Out Here

Your experience will help you find out about how your dog feels

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If you know when your dog is sad or happy, the credit goes to your experience. Pixabay

If you know when your dog is sad or happy, the credit goes to your experience and learning, not an innate ability to read the facial expression of your “best friend”, suggests new research.

While some dog emotions can be recognised from early on, the ability to reliably recognise dog emotions is mainly acquired through age and experience, said the study.

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the probability of recognising dog emotions was higher for participants who grew up in a cultural context with a positive attitude towards dogs, regardless of whether they owned a dog themselves.

“These results are noteworthy, because they suggest that it is not necessarily direct experience with dogs that affects humans’ ability to recognise their emotions, but rather the cultural milieu in which humans develop,” said study lead author Federica Amici from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

In order to test how well humans can understand the emotions behind dog facial expressions, the researchers collected photographs of dogs, chimpanzees, and humans displaying either happy, sad, angry, neutral, or fearful emotions as substantiated by the photographers.

They then recruited 89 adult participants and 77 child participants and categorised them according to their age, the dog-positivity of their cultural context and the participants’ personal history of dog ownership.

Each participant was presented with photographs of dogs, chimps and humans and asked to rate how much the individual in the picture displayed happiness, sadness, anger, or fear.

Adults were also asked to determine the context in which the picture had been taken (e.g., playing with a trusted conspecific partner; directly before attacking a conspecific).

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A test was conducted to know how well humans can understand the emotions behind dog facial expressions. Pixabay

The results of the study showed that, while some dog emotions can be recognised from early on, the ability to reliably recognise dog emotions is mainly acquired through age and experience.

In adults, the probability of recognising dog emotions was higher for participants who grew up in a cultural context with a positive attitude towards dogs, regardless of whether they owned a dog themselves.

A dog-positive cultural background, one in which dogs are closely integrated into human life and considered highly important, may result in a higher level of passive exposure and increased inclination and interest in dogs, making humans better at recognising dogs’ emotions even without a history of personal dog ownership.

The researchers also found that regardless of age or experience with dogs, all participants were able to identify anger and happiness reliably.

Also Read- Anxiety Among Teenagers Leads To Harmful Drinking

While these results may suggest an innate ability favoured by the co-domestication hypothesis, it is also possible that humans learn to recognise these emotions quickly, even with limited exposure.

Other than anger and happiness,the children in the study were not good at identifying dog emotions, the study said. (IANS)