Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Font Size

Walk Your Dog to Unleash Better Health

Pet Owners Reap Big Health Benefits From Regular Walks With the Dog, Study Says
WebMD Pet Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 8, 2010 -- Walking your dog not only can help keep you physically fit and at a healthy weight, but also may help ward off high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

"Dog owners who don't walk their dog are missing a great opportunity to get physical activity and stay healthy," says researcher Cindy Lentino, MS, an exercise scientist at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

"If you walk your dog just 30 minutes a day, you can meet national recommendations for physical activity," she tells WebMD.

You don't have to look far to find a canine exercise buddy: About 72 million dogs have a place to call home in the U.S. and many more live in shelters, foster homes, and with rescue groups.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Baltimore.

Dog Owners Less Stressed

Lentino says she got the idea for the study, which was part of her master's thesis, after hearing a presentation about the relationship between dog ownership and physical activity at a previous ACSM meeting.

"I wanted to go beyond that and look at health variables among people who walk their dogs, dog owners who don't walk their dogs, and people without dogs," Lentino says.

The study involved 916 healthy people, about three-fourths of whom were women, with an average age of 40.

A total of 380 didn't own dogs, 399 were dog owners who walked their dogs, and 137 were dog owners who did not walk their dogs.

All the study participants filled out detailed online surveys with more than 35 questions on physical activity and physical and mental health. Responses were matched against goals set by the government's Healthy People 2010 imitative.

Dog Walkers More Physically Fit

Compared with participants who regularly walked their four-legged pals, dog owners who didn't walk their pets:

  • Were 58% more likely to be overweight or underweight.
  • Were substantially less likely to meet the ACSM/American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for physical activity, which call for moderately intense cardio exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. That means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.
  • Spent about 30 more minutes sitting around every day, on average.
  • Were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure.

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
Pit bull looking up
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Dog scratching behind ear
dog catching frisbee
Dog Breed RMQ
Lady owner feeding dog
bulldog in party hat

Special Sections