They even help reduce our risk of heart disease! According to a recent study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, dog owners on average were 24% less likely to die over a 10-year period and 31% less likely to die from a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular condition compared to people who didn’t have dogs.
Another study looked at dog ownership with regard to survival after stroke or heart attack. Compared to non-dog owners, dog owners aged 40-85 who suffered a heart attack or stroke found a lower death rate, 33% for heart attack and 27% for stroke after being discharged from the hospital.
This then begs the question: Are the improved outcomes due to owning a dog or do dog owners behave differently than non-dog owners? For instance, are they healthier, wealthier and more active? According to demographic data, dog owners are more likely to be married, have physical space for a dog and exercise outdoors more than non-dog owners. Yet, according to one of the researchers, even after adjusting for these factors, there are likely some health benefits from having a dog.
I, for one, agree whole-heartedly with this research! Last spring, I adopted an 11-year old rescue, Bichon and named him “Pico”. He has brought so much love into my life – from taking him on neighborhood walks, to visiting my Mom at her Board & Care, and attending charity events. He’s definitely gotten me out of the house more! My stress level has decreased, my mood has improved and overall quality of life has been raised a few notches!
Here are more pics of our adventures together.
At the Alzheimer’s walk:
At the Humane Society Fur Ball:
Researchers are not sure if cat lovers enjoy the same health benefits as dog owners. This is because our feline friends are easier to maintain and don’t require walks outside. Yet, I don’t think anyone would argue that both cats and dogs bring an immeasurable level of unconditional love to our lives.
As Amazing Over 40 women, let’s be grateful for all of our four-legged friends. They are helping us in more ways than we know!
In health and happiness,