Posted on Sep 02, 2019, 3 p.m.
According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes owning a pet may help to keep your heart healthy, especially if that pet is a dog.
Baseline health and socio economic information on over 2,000 subjects from the Czech Republic from 01/2013 to 12/2014 were established, with follow up evaluations scheduled for every 5 years until 2030.
Evaluation in 2019 examined 1,769 participants with no history of heart disease and scored them based on Life’s Simple 7 ideal health behaviors and factors: total cholesterol, diet, BMI, blood pressure, physical activity, blood glucose, and smoking status as outlined by the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular health score were compared of pet owners to those who did not own pets, then dog owners were compared to other pets owners and those who didn’t own pets.
"In general, people who owned any pets were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level," says Andrea Maugeri, Ph.D., a researcher with the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno and the University of Catania in Catania, Italy. "The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."
An association was found between dog ownership and heart health which was in line with those of the AHA’s regarding benefits of dog ownership in terms of physical activity, engagement, and the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Findings support the idea of adopting/purchasing a rescue pet as part of a strategy to help improve cardiovascular health, provided the pet would be well cared for and would lead to a more physically active lifestyle. Owning a dog should prompt owners to go outside to move around and play with their dogs regularly. Additionally dog ownership has been linked with better mental health in other studies, as well as less social isolation which are risk factors for heart attacks.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.