Your Dog Heals Your Heart in More Ways than One

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Lover Valentine chocolate HavaneseIt's Good To Be A Pet Parent

"Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease," says Glenn N. Levine, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.This past Thursday the American Heart Association revealed years of studies on cardiovascular health benefits of having a pet. The

AHA concluded

that owning a pet, and a dog in particular, was probably related to decreased risk of heart disease.

The Benefits of a Dog

In this particular study the AHA monitored individuals over the course of years. Amongst a group of stressed out stockbrokers they maintained a control group who did nothing along with other variables of change such as owning a dog, a cat, or simply taking different kinds of medicine. While studies of this nature can never lead to absolute conclusions there was the strongest correlation between cardiovascular health and those who owned a dog.The reasoning behind the results? Owning a dog usually leads to

a more active lifestyle

, a more regimented lifestyle that makes time for things like exercise, cooking and eating regular meals, playing, and relaxing. Moreover, the interaction between humans and dogs is often observed as a stress reliever in and of itself. Amongst the nervous stockbrokers, a few years down the line those with dogs were capable of handling stressful situations with more calm and perspective.

Time to Get a Dog?

Not so fast. The AHA came short of saying that there is a definitive correlation between your health and having a pet. Most of the healthy behaviors associated with being a pet parent also mean being a responsible, loving, and caring pet parent. If you don't have the time, energy, or interest for a pet then the positive effects will likely be lost on you as well. If you are concerned about your health the first step is to lead a healthier lifestyle but if you are already a pet parent or

looking to become one soon

then rejoice at one more benefit of adding the love of an animal friend to your life. 

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