Dogs have been proven to be a good source of emotional support, but a new study shows there are other health benefits to owning a furry friend. According to a report published by the Mayo Clinic, owning a pet, especially a dog, could help you maintain a healthy heart.
The study looked at nearly 2,000 people in the Czech Republic with no history of heart disease and scored them on factors like body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol, also known as Life's Simple 7 by the American Heart Association. (A prior study was also done to establish baseline health and socio-economic status). They then compared the cardiovascular health scores of those who own pets to those who did not, and looked at dog owners specifically.
The results showed that there was a correlation between dog ownership and good cardiovascular health, which could come down to things like increased physical activity (like walking a dog outside) and less stress from emotional support.
"In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level," Andrea Maugeri, Ph.D., a researcher with the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne's University Hospital and the University of Catania, said in the report.
This further proves studies cited by the American Heart Association that show pet ownership can better one's health by increasing fitness levels, relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, providing social support and creating a stronger sense of happiness.
However, Maugeri further explained that dogs seemed to have the biggest impact out of all the pets, stating that "the greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."
So, if you're looking for a reason to adopt a dog, maybe consider all the health benefits in addition to giving a new friend a loving and caring home.