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Dog Owners - You May Be Improving Your Heart Health

By Sandy Schroeder

If you have a dog at your house, you know how great it can be. Who else would listen so patiently as you complain about your day? Who else would gently, or not so gently, get you out the door for a healthy walk? Or, who else might help you have a healthier heart?

Harvard Health said they are watching new Swedish research on the relationship of dog ownership and heart health. In a 12-year study, published online in November 2017 by Scientific Reports, more than 3.4 million Swedish adults, ages 40 to 80 who owned dogs, had a lower risk of death from heart disease.

Researchers combed dog ownership registries and national health sources. They found single dog owners cut their heart attack risk by 11 percent and lowered their risk of dying by 33 percent, compared to similar individuals who did not own a dog.

They speculated why this happens, coming up with these possibilities:

  • Dogs may reduce stress, loneliness and depression
  • Dogs may inspire people to get out and be more active
  • Dog owners may have more resources contributing to maintenance of personal health

What Do You Think?

I am wholeheartedly in the dog corner, I have enjoyed owning pets forever. As a child I had two faithful dogs who shared my life from grade school through college. As an adult my family and I have had two dogs, three cats, and an assortment of lizards and lab mice. Overall, I would say the benefits definitely outweigh the effort.

A friend of mine had two loyal dachshunds for almost 20 years. They pretty much ran the house, answering the doorbell, discreetly scrutinizing guests, and helping themselves to their drinks when they were not looking. When he lost them to old age he said simply, “They were family.”

Another uncle of mine had a beautiful black Labrador who was his constant companion for more than 18 years. The two of them were a striking pair. When he was going out he would usually find his dog standing waiting by the door. When he was going out, and she was not going to get to go, she would hide under the coffee table to avoid being put in the garage. She always knew what was up.

If you are a dog owner, count your blessings and keep tuning in to the latest research.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Downers Grove, Ill.

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