Abstract P313: Dog Walking is Associated With Increased Home-based Exercise in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease
Introduction: Dog ownership and dog walking have been associated with increased physical activity in the general population. Although evidence suggests an association between pet ownership and increased survival in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), little is known about how dog ownership and dog walking may be associated with exercise habits in CHD patients.
Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to examine dog ownership and dog walking and their relationship with frequency of home- and hospital-based CR exercise in patients with CHD. It was hypothesized that CHD patients who walk their dogs would report more frequent home- and hospital-based CR exercise.
Methods: The study was based on Self-Determination Theory. A prospective observational design was used. A total of 122 patients with CHD completed a dog ownership and walking survey during their hospitalization and were asked to complete the Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Participation Tool by mail at 3, 8 and 12 months later. Patients self-selected whether they walked or biked in a home- or hospital-based Phase II CR exercise setting and self-reported number of days per week of exercise in each setting.
Results: The sample was predominantly male (n=82; 67.2%) with a mean age of 64.7±9.1 years. Forty-two patients (34.4%) reported owning a dog. There were no differences in participation in home or Phase II CR exercise in dog owners versus non-dog owners (home CR: 57.1% vs. 62.5%, p=0.57 and Phase II CR: 31.0% vs. 32.5%, p=0.86). Among dog owners, 23 (54.8%) reported walking their dog at least 1 day/week. There were no significant differences in Phase II CR exercise among non-dog owners, dog owners who did not dog walk, and those who walked their dogs at least 1 day/week (owners/walkers: 34.8%, owners/non-walkers: 26.3%, non-owners: 32.5%; p=0.83). However, patients who owned but did not walk their dog reported significantly lower levels of home exercise compared to patients who owned and walked their dogs at least 1 day/week (owners/non-walkers: 36.8% vs. owners/walkers: 73.9%, p=0.019) and compared to non-dog owners (owners/non-walkers: 36.8% vs. non-owners: 62.5%; p=0.047).
Conclusions: Results suggest that dog ownership is not equivalent to dog walking when examining exercise frequency in CHD patients. Dog owners were no more likely to exercise than non-dog owners. However, findings show a beneficial effect on home-based exercise for CHD patients who walk their dogs at least one day a week. Healthcare professionals should encourage CHD patients who are dog owners to walk their dogs as a strategy to increase home-based exercise.
Author Disclosures: S.L. Dunn: None. M.J. Sit: None. H.A. DeVon: None. D. Makidon: None. N.L. Tintle: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.