Age and Physical Activity Levels in Companion Dogs: Results From the Dog Aging Project. Academic Article uri icon


  • While there has been an abundance of studies on the important relationship between physical activity and age in both dogs and humans, studies on dogs have primarily focused on how a dog's biological characteristics, such as their weight, affect the age-activity relationship. To date, there is little knowledge about how this relationship may be associated with contextual- and owner-level characteristics. We leveraged a large and novel data set from the Dog Aging Project (DAP) to investigate the extent to which the age-activity relationship is associated with certain dog and owner characteristics, namely dog size, owner age, and the environment in which they live. Dogs are a unique model for aging research as they are exposed to similar social and environmental elements as humans but have a shorter life span, allowing researchers to observe their entire life course. We find that older dogs are less active than younger dogs; rural dogs are more active than suburban and urban dogs, especially at younger ages; and larger dogs are more active than smaller dogs. These findings are generally consistent with previous studies. However, a surprising finding is that older owners have more active dogs than younger owners. As one of the first studies to utilize the large survey data from the DAP, this study lays the foundation for future investigations to further understand and identify the biological, social, and environmental causes, as well as consequences, of aging.

published proceedings

  • J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, H., Collins, D., Creevy, K. E., Promislow, D., & Dog Aging Project Consortium.

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Hannah||Collins, Devin||Creevy, Kate E||Promislow, Daniel EL

editor list (cited editors)

  • Anderson, R. M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022 11:11 AM