by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH
The American Heart Association issued a scientific statement on Thursday May 9, 2013 that owning a pet may help to decrease a person’s risk of suffering from heart disease and is linked with lower levels of obesity, blood pressure and cholesterol. Get a dog to help your heart? Now there’s a novel concept.
Glenn N. Levine, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recently commented, “Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.” A study of more than 5,200 adults, cited by the AHA, showed dog owners were more physically active than non-owners because they walk their pets. Other research has revealed the calming effects of pets, which are also used in animal-assisted therapy programs.
This is a win-win for the AHA, the ASPCA , animal shelters and you. Approximately 3 to 4 million animals (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats) are euthanized each year according to the ASPCA. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home. You can make the difference between life and death for a dog, and maybe the dog will do the same for you. Join the 78 million dog owners in the USA and help your heart at the same time. It’s a heart healthy thing to do on two levels: It provides a companion for taking walks and getting needed exercise and it offers you a friend, a pal and a best buddy from whom you can receive unconditional love. This is all good happy heart making stuff. Combine dog walking exercise with a heart-healthy (and brain healthy) diet and you’ll be on your way to a longer, happier life.