Save Your Heart: Get a Dog

Hanna-2-smallThis just in: Owning a dog may reduce your risk of heart disease! This finding was announced by the prestigious American Heart Association (AHA) in a published scientific statement. The precise wording was that owning a dog was “probably associated” with protection from heart disease.

Why? According to an article in The New York Times:

People who own dogs certainly have more reason to get outside and take walks, and studies show that most owners form such close bonds with their pets that being in their presence blunts the owners’ reactions to stress and lowers their heart rate, said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, the head of the committee that wrote the statement.

Studies have shown that dogs decrease the body’s reaction to stress, with a lower heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline-like hormones. People who have a dog also tend to report greater amounts of physical activity. They also show slightly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And, most powerful of all, some research showed that people who had pets of any kind were also more likely to survive heart attacks.

Now, it’s possible that people who are healthier to begin with are more likely to bring a dog into their homes, but that doesn’t seem likely. Plenty of sick people have dogs–it could be argued that dog people are dog people to the bitter end.

Dr. Levine and his colleagues don’t recommend going out and getting a pet simply for its heart benefits–you have to want to have a dog… walk a dog… love a dog. Otherwise, chances are that the pet will do no more good for your health than hanging a photo of a dog on your wall.

But for those of us who do share our homes with pets, this information is an additional reason to pat that furry head.

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here:  Owning a Dog

Location Icon

Raleigh Office

3110 Edwards Mill Rd Suite 100,
Raleigh, NC 27612
P (919) 781-1107
F (919) 781-8048

Rocky Mount Office

2317 Sunset Ave,
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
P (252) 443-2111
F (252) 443-9429

Jacksonville Office

Appointment Only
P (910) 377-7671
Scroll to Top