From helping you sleep better to boosting your immunity, the benefits of owning a dog are very well-documented. And now, recent research adds yet another big bonus to the list: Owning a pup is good for your heart — literally.
An August 2019 study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, found that owning a dog may help maintain a healthy heart. Researchers looked at 1,769 people with no history of heart disease and scored them based on a variety of heart-health factors, including physical activity level, blood pressure, diet, and whether or not they smoked. Then, the scientists compared the heart-health scores of pet owners overall to folks who didn't own any pets. Finally, researchers compared the scores of dog owners specifically to people who owned other types of pets and those who didn't own any pets at all.
"In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet, and blood sugar at ideal level," said researcher Andrea Maugeri, PhD, in a press release. "The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex, and education level."
Researchers think the suggested link between dog ownership and better heart health could be because owning a dog inspires many people to go outside more often and move around more frequently. Gee, playing with a precious pup sure has its advantages!
The results even support the idea that people could consider adopting a dog as a possible strategy to improve their own heart health. Of course, this is assuming that these dog owners will also adopt a more physically active lifestyle while caring for the pet.
We don't know about you, but we can't think of a better excuse to add a new fur baby to your family!