How dogs keep you in good health
Many studies have suggested that having dogs as pets is associated with better physical health, as reviews trusted source of the existing literature show. These findings persist.
Just last year, Medical News Today reported on a study that showed that owning a dog reduces a person’s risk of premature death by up to a third.
Also, researchers at the University of Harvard in Cambridge, MA, suggest that dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease.
Why is that? It is difficult to establish a causal relationship between owning a dog and enjoying better health.
However, the benefits may appear thanks to a series of factors related to lifestyle adjustments that people tend to make after they decide to adopt a canine friend.
The most prominent such lifestyle factor is physical activity. There is no way around it: if you own a dog, you have to commit to twice daily walks — and sometimes even more.
The results were based on studying a cohort of 41,514 participants from California, some of whom owned dogs, some of whom owned cats, and some of whom did not have any pets.
Moreover, several recent studies — including one from the University of Missouri in Columbia and another from Glasgow Caledonian University in the United Kingdom — found that adults aged 60 and over enjoy better health thanks to the “enforced” exercise they get by walking their dogs.
Dogs can strengthen our health not just as we grow older, but also much, much earlier than that: before we are even born.
Research published last year suggests that children who were exposed to dogs while still in the womb — as their mothers spent time around dogs during pregnancy — had a lower risk of developing eczema in early childhood.
Also, children exposed to certain bacteria carried by dogs also experienced a reduction of asthma symptoms, the researchers noted.
Written by Maria Cohut, Ph.D. on August 26, 2018