Dogs, cats and other animal friends are more important than we realise.
Pet owners will often swear their beloved pooch or moggie does wonders for their wellbeing, and now we have empirical proof. A new study has found dog ownership is linked to improved heart health for humans. This is an important finding, given heart disease is the leading cause of death globally.
While the new study focuses on dogs and heart disease, it raises the broader question of how pet ownership affects human longevity. Can pets create health in humans?
A study known as the “blue zone” study has focused on factors affecting longevity for over a decade. Nine factors have been identified as increasing lifespan in the communities studied, and many of these factors are increased by pets.
1. Natural everyday movement
Much of the focus on pets providing health has been on dog walking. But anyone who owns a pet knows there are numerous incidental physical activities associated with pet ownership – like getting up to feed their pet; ensuring the pet’s food and water is available; and looking after pet “accommodation”.
Reducing prolonged sitting and increasing incidental domestic activity have both been shown to be protective with regard to health risks.
Pets provide nudges to everyday movement.
– Janette Young
Read more: 4 Ways a Pet Increases Your Lifespan
Photo source – Flickr.com