Having a Dog Can Make Your Heart Healthier, and Science Explains Why
Those of us who have dogs know for sure that these animals make our lives better, even without seeing the scientific evidence behind it. Recent studies have proven that apart from having a faithful companion, dog owners tend to have better cardiovascular health and physical stamina. If you’re still in doubt about whether you should have a dog or not, consider the possible health benefits for you and your family members.
We love dogs here at Bright Side, and we were glad to learn that these wonderful animals can make our hearts healthier. So, here’s how it works.
In a study called The Kardiovize Brno 2030, researchers studied a population from Central Europe who were made up of 1769 people, aged from 25 to 64 years old, 44.3% of them males, and with no history of heart diseases. Within a couple of years researchers compared dog owners and people who had other pets or no pets at all across parameters like cardiovascular health, body mass index, diet, physical activity levels, blood pressure, smoking, and cholesterol levels.
Out of all the patients 24.3% had a dog, and it turned out this group of people smoked less, were more physically active, and had ideal levels of blood glucose and “good” cholesterol compared with other participants. These and other physical parameters resulted in better cardiovascular health and lower risk of heart diseases.
Scientists explain these health benefits by the fact that dog owners are more physically active than people who have other pets or no pets at all. If you have a doggo, you’re most likely walking him or her yourself, rain or shine, and being more physically active than many other people without even noticing it.
Earlier studies have also proven that dog owners who regularly walk their pets are 34% more likely to reach the necessary level of physical activity. What's more, researchers have found that walking a dog is not just a substitute for other physical activities. Those of us who have dogs as pets tend to have more moderate and vigorous physical activities in our lives than other people, including sports, dancing, and gardening.
Other findings also revealed that young and elderly people walk their pets more often and consequently have higher health benefits, and that dogs one year old or younger and dogs of large breeds were walked more often and for longer periods of time respectively. Apart from making us walk more, the human-dog bond has an overall positive effect on our quality of life, and doctors believe that public campaigns promoting responsible dog ownership are a good step on the way to a healthier society.
Do you have a dog? Do you notice any positive effects on your health from having a dog?