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.