Research – published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality and Outcomes –examined the link between pet ownership, cardiovascular health and disease risk factors. In the study, over 1,769 individuals, between the ages of 25 to 64, were scored based on the American Heart Associations seven ideal health factors: diet, body mass index, physical activity, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol.
They found that subjects who owned pets (more specifically, doggos) scored better than those who didn’t, regardless of their age, sex and education level. Yep, those daily dog walks aren’t just satisfying your energetic pup but are benefitting you equally as much. (Love your dog? You'll love Pooch Perfect airing on Channel 7, Thursdays at 7:30pm. Or watch for free online here.)
“In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,” researcher Andrea Maugeri said in a statement.
Not only does your four-legged friend improve your physical health, but they also benefit your mental health. Owning a dog can reduce loneliness, encourage social interaction (walkies with fellow dog-lovers will do that), reduce anxiety and provide structure and purpose.
This isn’t the first study to highlight the benefits of having a mutt mate around. A study by researchers at Azabu University, Japan found that interacting with dogs increased oxytocin levels in both the owner and the dog.
Did somebody call a dog-tor?