Another scientific study has confirmed: dog owners live longer, lose weight more easily and are in a better mood.
Lower risk of death
A study conducted by Mubanga et al. showed that dog ownership was associated with a 33% lower risk of premature death in heart attack survivors and a 27% lower risk of premature death in stroke survivors, compared with those without a dog. Also, owning a dog is associated with a 24% lower risk of death from any cause and a 31% lower risk of heart attack or stroke compared to people who do not have a dog.
Therefore, having a dog is associated with a longer life, a better quality of life in old age, more frequent physical activity and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, but also a better quality of life in heart attack or stroke survivors.
Previous research has shown that having a dog for a pet prevents social isolation, but also improves physical fitness, and even lowers blood pressure.
Experts advise that every adult should be active for at least 2.5 hours a week. Walking a dog on a daily basis certainly contributes to stay active.
A study conducted by Curl et al. showed that older people who own a dog have on average a lower body fat index, fewer physical conditions associated with aging, fewer doctor visits per year, and more frequent physical activity.
Healthier body weight
The problem of being overweight is often related to motivation. In order to lose excess weight, a person should be motivated to do regular physical activity.
In case of owning a dog, this motivation is indirect: the person is motivated to walk for the love of his pet and his needs, and at the same time he does not view daily walks as a regular and obligatory physical activity. In this way, responsibility towards the dog contributes to movement and weight loss.
Better coping with everyday stress
Physical activity, no matter which one, contributes to reducing stress, and it makes it easier to cope with everyday stressful situations. Precisely because of this, walks with the dog, even if they are short of 10-15 minutes, contribute to the reduction of anxiety and increase the levels of the hormones serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with a better mood.
Additionally, time spent with the dog has been proven to reduce tension and improve the mood of its owner.
Therefore, I would highly advise getting a dog for people who have survived a heart attack or stroke because walking a dog will contribute to overall daily movement, improve cardiovascular health, aerobic endurance, lower blood pressure, but also affect better mood and a lower risk of anxiety and depression.
Curl AL, Bibbo J, Johnson RA. Dog Walking, the Human-Animal Bond and Older Adults’ Physical Health
Mubanga M, Byberg L, Egenvall A, Ingelsson E, Fall T. Dog Ownership and Survival After a Major Cardiovascular Event