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BBC: Dog Owners Lead Healthier Lives

(See Statistics: “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” below for perspective. Ask “who did the study? What was the purpose of the study? Who profits?”)

This article is from today’s BBC News online. You can read the whole report here.

Dogs can provide companionship
If you want to live a healthier life get a dog, research suggests.
The companionship offered by many pets is thought to be good for you, but the benefits of owning a dog outstrip those of cat owners, the study says.

A psychologist from Queen’s University, Belfast, said dog owners tended to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology, she says that regular ‘walkies’ may partly explain the difference.

Dr Deborah Wells reviewed dozens of earlier research papers which looked at the health benefits of pet ownership.

In some cases, the social support offered by an animal is greater than the support than another human could offer
Dr June McNicholas
Health psychologist

She confirmed that pet owners tended in general to be healthier than the average member of the population.

However, her research suggested that dog ownership produced more positive influence than cat ownership.

As well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol, she said dog-owners suffered fewer minor ailments and serious medical problems.

There was also the suggestion that dogs could aid recovery from serious illnesses such as heart attacks, and act as ‘early warning’ to detect an approaching epileptic seizure.


Dr Wells said the precise reason for the benefits was not totally clear.

“It is possible that dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress, one of the major risk factors associated with ill-health.

read the rest here.

My comment: I hate a study that says dog owners are healthier than cat owners, but they say that the regular walking might be a factor. Have to admit, that is true. I have a leash for my cat. When I tried to put the body harness on him, some primitive switch deep inside switched on, and the Qatteri Cat went bat-crazy, clawing, biting, twisting, hissing . . . never tried it again.

We tried walking a cat once – we’ve been told it can be done. Our experience we called “taking the cat for a drag.” I’ve never met a cat who would happily take to a leash.

And I never met a dog who wouldn’t go for a walk with great enthusiasm. They wiggle with uncontrollable delight when they see the leash, wiggle so hard you can barely get the leash attached. They bolt out the door, sniff the air, and prance as you race to keep up.

You see life differently when you walk a dog. It’s all “go! go! go!” and then all of a sudden it’s “Hey! What’s this? Some dog peed here! Woooof!” You really do see the world in a blade of grass, when you are a dog, or a hedge, or a pile of cat poop. (“No! No! You can’t eat that!! No!”) Their love of life is infectious, and probably even the stop and go kind of walking you do with a dog is better than no walking at all.

January 21, 2007 Posted by | Family Issues, Health Issues, News, Pets, Random Musings, Relationships, Statistics | 3 Comments