With August 26th being National Dog Day, we wanted to share the health benefits that dogs (and pets in general) have on humans. Anecdotal and scientific evidence have shown that dog owners tend to be healthier than the average person.
Here are a few ways that living with a dog might keep you healthy:
- They keep you moving and active: This is no surprise to dog owners that frequently walk or exercise with their pets. According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs. Additionally, a 2006 study done by Canadian researchers at the University of Victoria, dog owners were more likely to participate in mild to moderate physical activity. They walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.
- Dogs are allergy fighters: Although due to contrary belief, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals” — whether it’s a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies and asthma as they become adults.
- Dogs and the elderly: Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home. Caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet. Walking a dog or just caring for a pet — for elderly people who are able, can provide exercise and companionship.
- Depression reducers: Studies in AIDS patients and the elderly have shown that each group is far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets and have a an animal to take care of in their life. Studies have found that pets give purpose.
- Good for the heart: Several studies have found that heart attack patients who have pets, survive longer than those without. Also, male pet owners have less sign of heart disease, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Tags: exercise, family medicine, health, health and well being, heart health, pets and health