Pet owners have better heart health, particularly when those pets are dogs…

This is according to a study examining the link between owning pets and heart health.

Researchers established baseline health and socio-economic information on more than 2000 subjects in the city of Brno, Czech Republic, from January 2013 through December 2014. Follow-up evaluations are scheduled for five-year intervals until 2030.

In the 2019 evaluation, the study looked at 1 769 subjects with no history of heart disease and scored them based on Life’s Simple 7 ideal health behaviours and factors, as outlined by the American Heart Association:

  • Body mass index
  • Diet
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking status
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose
  • Total cholesterol

The study compared the cardiovascular health scores of pet owners overall to those who did not own pets. Then it compared dog owners to other pet owners and those who did not own pets.

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All pet owners are healthier, but dog owners are the healthiest

“In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,” says Andrea Maugeri, Ph.D., a researcher with the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the University of Catania in Catania, Italy.

“The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.”

Having a dog may prompt owners to go out, move around and play with their dog regularly. Owning a dog also has been linked to better mental health in other studies and less perception of social isolation – both risk factors for heart attacks.

This means that adopting a pet could improve your heart health, as long as it leads to a more physically active lifestyle.

Source: Mayo Clinic via

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