Dog Ownership and Physical Activity

The BMED lab has had a consistent focus on lifestyle factors involved in sustained physical activity. The effect of our four-legged friends on daily walking for health and leisure has been investigated in reviews, observational studies, and interventions within the lab for nearly two decades.



Key papers 


  1. Rhodes, R.E., Baranova, M., Christian, H., & Westgarth, C. (2020). Increasing physical activity – by four legs rather than two: A systematic review of dog facilitated physical activity interventions. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(20), 1202-1207.

  2. Christian, H., Bauman, A., Epping, J., Levine, G., McCormack, G., Rhodes, R.E., Richards, E., Rock, M., & Westgarth, C. (2016). Encouraging dog walking for health promotion and disease prevention. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine20(10), 1-11.

  3. Lim, C., & Rhodes, R.E. (2016). Sizing up physical activity: The relationships among dog characteristics, dog owners' motivations, and dog walking. Psychology of Sport and Exercise,24, 65-71.

  4. Rhodes, R.E.,& Lim, C. (2016). Understanding action control of daily walking behavior among dog owners: A community survey. BMC Public Health, 16, 1165-1174.

  5. Rhodes, R.E., Murray, H., Temple, V., Tuokko, H., & Wharf Higgins, J. (2012). Pilot study of a dog walking intervention: Effects of a focus on canine exercise. Preventive Medicine, 54(5), 309-312.

  6. Brown, S.G., & Rhodes, R.E. (2006). Relationships among dog ownership and leisure time walking in Western Canadian adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(2), 131-136.

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