Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 16 (8)

Evaluating the Relationship Between Well-Being and Living With a Dog for People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study


Evaluating the Relationship Between Well-Being and Living With a Dog for People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study

Eloise C J Carr et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health.


Chronic low back pain is a significant societal and personal burden that negatively impacts quality of life. Dog ownership has been associated with health benefits. This study evaluated the feasibility of surveying people with chronic low back pain to assess the relationship between dog ownership and well-being. A mail-out survey was sent to 210 adult patients with chronic low back pain. Measures of quality of life, pain, physical activity, emotional health, social ties and dog ownership were included. Feasibility was assessed by examining survey response rate, responses to established and newly developed measures, and the potential relationships between dog ownership and a number of key well-being variables in this patient population. There were 56 completed surveys returned (n = 36 non-dog owners and n = 20 dog owners). Established, adapted and newly developed scales revealed promising results. Dog owners reported fewer depression and anxiety symptoms, and more social ties than non-dog owners. Living with a dog may be associated with improved well-being for people with chronic pain. The findings from this feasibility study will inform a general population survey, to be conducted with a larger, more representative sample of people living with chronic pain.

Keywords: chronic pain; depression; dog ownership; physical activity; well-being.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results”.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 3 PubMed Central articles


    1. Rice A.S., Smith B.H., Blyth F.M. Pain and the global burden of disease. Pain. 2016;157:791–796. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000454. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Global Burden of Disease Study Collaborators Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015;386:743–800. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60692-4. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Dahlhamer J., Lucas J., Zelaya C., Nahin R., Mackey S., DeBar L., Kerns R., Von Korff M., Porter L., Helmick C. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults—United States, 2016. MMWR. 2018;67:1001–1006. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6736a2. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Breivik H., Collett B., Ventafridda V., Cohen R., Gallacher D. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur. J. Pain. 2006;10:287–333. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2005.06.009. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Reitsma M., Tranmer J.E., Buchanan D.M., VanDenKerkhof E.G. The epidemiology of chronic pain in Canadian men and women between 1994 and 2007: Longitudinal results of the National Population Health Survey. Pain Res. Manag. 2012;17:166–172. doi: 10.1155/2012/875924. - DOI - PMC - PubMed

Publication types