Objectives: This study examined the relationships between dog ownership, dog walking, and the emotional bond with a dog to neighborhood engagement and life satisfaction among those over age 50.
Methods: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (N=476), two path analysis models were conducted to test the research hypotheses.
Results: Findings indicated that dog ownership did not have a direct or indirect relationship on life satisfaction. However, time spent in dog walking was associated with frequency of social interactions, which itself had a positive association with life satisfaction. The bond with a dog was not directly associated with life satisfaction but was associated with dog walking.
Discussion: Dog walking is a promising strategy for simultaneously promoting better health and social engagement, and these factors in turn can promote greater life satisfaction of older adults.