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Pet dogs and child physical activity: the role of child–dog attachment

By Anne M. Gadomski, Melissa B. Scribani, Nicole Krupa, Paul Jenkins

Category Journal Articles

Dog ownership has been associated with increased physical activity in children which in turn may mitigate childhood obesity.

To measure the association between child-dog attachment and child physical activity and screen time.

Cross-sectional study including 370 children (ages 4-10) who had pet dogs in the home. Parents completed the DartScreen, a web-based screener, before a well-child visit. Screener domains included child body mass index (BMI), physical activity, screen time and dog-related questions. The Companion Animal Bonding Scale (CABS) was used to measure child attachment to the dog. Clinic nurses weighed and measured the children. Associations between CABS, BMI z-score, screen time and physical activity were estimated.

CABS was strongly associated with time spent being active with the dog (F=22.81, p<0.0001), but not with BMI z-score or screen time.

A higher level of child attachment to a pet dog is associated with increased child physical activity.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2016
Publication Title Pediatric Obesity
Volume 12
Issue 5
Pages e37-e40
Publisher Wiley
DOI 10.1111/ijpo.12156
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Attachment
  3. Children
  4. Dogs
  5. Human-animal interactions
  6. Mammals
  7. open access
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. physical activity
  1. open access