Everyone has different reasons for adopting a pet. A desire for companionship. A love of furry animals. A preference for furry friends over human ones. Or a need to share the love in your heart with a friend. What probably doesn't cross people's mind when deciding whether to bring home a pet, is that they may actually have a positive impact on the health of your aforementioned heart.
In a recent review of studies about the health impacts of dog ownership, positive benefits were once again apparent, even more so in people who had already had either a heart attack or a history of serious health problems. But until recently, while the health impacts were clearly visible, there wasn't any solid evidence that our furry buds help us live longer.
"The researchers found that compared with people who do not own dogs, those who do have a 24 percent lower risk of death at any given age, and a 31 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Among people who already had serious heart problems, dog owners had a 65 percent lower mortality rate than those who didn't own a dog."
And if you step back and think about it, the logic holds up. If you have a dog, you're already getting more exercise than if you didn't—I mean they gotta walk so you gotta walk them. Then there's the impact on mental health—if you have a friend, you're less likely to suffer from depression and who doesn't immediately get a smile on their face when their furry best friend walks into the room. All of these pet ownership pros lead to people living a longer life.
The one caveat however, according to Caroline K. Kramer, one of the study's authors, is that the "studies were observational and don't prove cause and effect". But the above mentioned benefits are hard to ignore.
So in case you haven't picked up on it, there are endless benefits to having a dog—living longer being one of them. So if you don't have one, head to your nearest shelter—or call up the PPAC—to see if any pets are available. Trust us—your heart and health will thank you.
Til' next time,