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New study links pet ownership and heart health

Kaitlyn Riley

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Physical activity and a sense of purpose were some of the key factors linking dog ownership with heart health.

Good news for animal lovers, a new study published by Mayo Clinic showed pets may be the heart’s best friend.

The study examined the association of pet ownership with cardiovascular health.

Specifically looking at the health of those who own dogs, Jose Medina Inojosa, M.D., said the key to the study was the amount of physical activity dogs require.

However, he said pet owners in general have improved heart health.

“We, in part, decided that it will help you cope with stress,” Medina Inojosa said, “and there is some other data that shows that when you own a pet, it will decrease your depressive symptoms, gives you a sense of overall purpose and well-being and will align with some of your cardiovascular health goals.”

He added those with less depressive symptoms are more likely to have a better diet and be more active, allowing other markers of cardiovascular health to fall into place.

Medina Inojosa added that, for those considering rescuing, adopting or purchasing a dog, this study should be a tipping point to help make that decision.

Any decisions regarding heart health, however, should be discussed with a medical professional, he said.

Several factors can help with heart health such as becoming more active, eating less processed foods, decreasing the amount of added sugars in diets, and avoiding smoking.