When coming home after a long day, any disappointment, stress, or unhappiness is instantly defeated the moment I open the door and see my pooch anxiously awaiting my arrival. Anyone who’s owned a pet can relate to the feeling. Aside from the obvious emotional benefit, new research indicates pet ownership can have another extremely beneficial health effect.
According to a new report from the American Heart Association (AHA), having a canine friend can reduce your risk of heart disease. Studies touting the health benefits of owning a pet have been emerging for quite some time, but this report has near conclusive findings that a furry friend can help protect your heart.
Previous studies have shown that dog owners typically live longer, healthier lives than cat owners. It’s primarily linked to the increased exercise that dog owners get when taking their pooches out for walks. The AHA also links this correlation with other beneficial effects, like reduced blood pressure and mental stress, both of which can impact overall heart health.
As far as mental and emotional benefits are concerned, cats can fill this role as well. The primary difference is the increased levels of exercise dog owners receive. Logically, the physical benefits will not come into play unless you remain physically active and actually take your dog for walks. Another study noted: dog owners who did not walk their dogs regularly were just as likely to be overweight as their pet-less counterparts.
This recent study seems to suggest that the benefits of dog ownership should strike a healthy balance between the physical, and emotional. If you maintain a loving companionship with your pooch, and walk them regularly, your heart and mind will reap the benefits.