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Listen up, you furry-friend lovers. Having a pet might lower your risk of heart disease, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in Circulation.

“Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease” says Glenn N. Levine, M.D., professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and chair of the committee that wrote the statement after reviewing previous studies of the influence of pets.

national wear redResearch Shows the Positive Effects of Pets

  • Pet ownership is probably associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factorsand increased survival among patients. But the studies aren’t definitive and do not necessarily prove that owning a pet directly causes a reduction in heart disease risk. “It may be simply that healthier people are the ones that have pets, not that having a pet actually leads to or causes reduction in cardiovascular risk,” Levine says.
  • Dog ownership in particular may help reduce cardiovascular risk. People with dogs may engage in morephysical activity because they walk them. In a study of more than 5,200 adults, dog owners engaged in more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.
  • Owning pets may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity.
  • Pets can have a positive effect on the body’s reactions to stress.

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Keep Your Pet Healthy- And He’ll Keep You Healthy

ez vet-pet health
From USA Today 5-9-13

Pets don’t just make lives fuller. They may help make them longer, says an official statement from the American Heart Association.

   Owning a pet – especially a dog – seems to have heart health benefits, the group says in the statement published Thursday in the medical journal Circulation.

   “The data is most robust for people who own a dog,” says Glenn Levine, a cardiologist with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. But he says there’s reason to believe cats and other pets are helpful, too.

   Levine led a scientific committee that reviewed the research on pets and heart health. The group says the studies are not definitive but do suggest:

• Dogs may keep owners active (with all those walks).  In one study, dog owners were 54% more likely than other adults to get recommended levels of exercise.

• Interacting with a pet can lower stress responses in the body.

• Pet ownership is associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and less obesity.

In one of the best-designed studies, Levine says, researchers compared people with borderline high blood pressure who adopted dogs with others who also wanted dogs but were randomly assigned to delay the adoptions for purposes of the study. Those who brought home their dogs saw declines in blood pressure and were less likely to see their blood pressure and heart rates rise in response to stress. A study with cats and dogs produced similar results in people with high blood pressure and high-stress occupations, he says.

Most other studies involved comparing pet owners with those who did not have pets, meaning researchers could not rule out the possibility that people who had pets were just healthier to start with.

In any case, the experts don’t recommend that people with heart health problems adopt, rescue or buy pets just for the potential heart health boost.

The main reason to get a pet should be “to give the pet a loving home” and enjoy the relationship, Levine says.

Monitor your pet’s health and weight with the EZ Vet weight kiosk.

Two locations- Allpets Emporium in Pembroke Pines and Coral Springs.

“We also not do not want someone to go out and buy a dog and then be content to sit on the couch and smoke.”