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Being a pet owner shows to improve one's mental well-being, but new research shows a household pet also may provide serious heart health benefits as well. The cardiovascular benefits show to be even higher for those that own a dog over other pets.
This study compared cardiovascular health scores between pet owners and non-pet owners and then compared dog owners to both groups, looking at body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol. Pet owners were all more likely than non-pet owners to be in better cardiovascular health, while dog owners specifically possessed the most ideal physical activity levels and diet habits.
Related: Is My Pet Getting Enough Exercise?
"In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level," Andrea Maugeri, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said 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."
The researchers from this study believe this study supports the idea that adopting, rescuing or purchasing a pet could be a potential heart health strategy, as long as owning that pet encouraged them to be more active. Considering that 610,000 Americans currently die from heart disease each year, we think it's definitely worth reducing your risk by walking and playing with your pup.