Park Quality and Elderly Citizens’ Dog-Walking Practices

A Cross-Sectional Study

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Hygiene and Ecomedicine, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Dog guardianship encourages people to exercise and visit public parks, and it’s a positive feature for senior citizens. This research tested the hypothesis that the effect park quality has on the time that seniors spend walking their dogs is mediated by the attitude of other park visitors toward the dogs and influences dog guardians’ perceived health. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among dog-guardians (> 65 years) in four parks of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. A 13-item questionnaire was administered; park quality and district geomorphology were appraised using gis analysis and field observations. Park quality had a significant and negative indirect effect on perceived health through the mediators’ “dog complaints” and “time spent dog-walking” operating in a serial, causal sequence. Better park quality was related to less dog-walking time and to poorer perceived health; more visitors were attracted and there were increased complaints against dogs. Better park planning for dog walkers is needed.

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