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Dogs Provide Benefits to Mood and Cardiovascular Health

People often view their dogs as if they are their children, or as another member of the family. They take them to the vet, arrange grooming appointments, and even schedule playdates for them!

Yet, while humans do so much for their four-legged friends, many are unaware of the surprising positive health benefits dogs provide in return.

According to a recent study by the American Heart Association, people who own dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a heart attack or stroke, especially if that dog owner lived alone.

Heart attack survivors living alone had a 33% lower risk of death and stroke survivors living alone had a 27% lower risk of death!

Reduction in diabetes has also been listed as another health benefit for owning a dog. “People who walk their dogs regularly face one-third the risk of diabetes of those who don’t own a dog,” the American Heart Association said. The extra exercise makes a positive difference.

Dog ownership can also provide social and emotional support, as well as helping those looking to lose weight. Ownership of a dog has shown signs of better psychological well-being, increased self-esteem, better sleep, and more physical activity.

In times of loneliness and solitude, such as recent quarantines, many looked to adopt dogs as a way to help reduce the stress, anxiety, and isolation of the pandemic.

Some researchers question the correlations between dog ownership and cognitive benefits because it is extremely difficult to conduct a randomized controlled trial where the researcher controls all factors and randomly assigns a pet to the test group.

As a way to better test this correlation, researchers are turning to studies where subjects are monitored over long periods of time. This can include giving a dog to a troubled adolescent or a patient with a history of cardiovascular issues then recording the data and impact of any changes over time.

With more results from these types of studies, researchers can find more precise correlations to why a dog may or may not be a good fit for a person and their needs.

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