Adopt a Dog: 
It’s Good for Your Health

Animal Shelter

Photo by Martha L. Fox

BY DALE BURG

Rescue a dog from the City of Bloomington Animal Shelter and you may be saving two lives: your pet’s and your own.

It’s been well-documented that animals enhance their owners’ lives and help relieve depression. But recent studies have shown that pet ownership also brings physical benefits that can contribute to well-being and longevity.

Owning a pet measurably reduces risk factors for heart attack and stroke. After scientists discovered that petting a dog lowers blood pressure, researchers at the State University of New York in Buffalo found that simply owning a pet offers the same benefit.

In addition, a study of 5,400 people conducted by Australia’s Baker Medical Institute showed that pet owners had lower levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides than people without an animal companion. Another Australian study confirmed that pet owners needed less medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, sleeping difficulties, and heart problems.

The fact that pet owners tend to walk more than other people strengthens their bones and muscles, lowering the risk of fracture. And, like any exercise, walking is a stress reliever, which contributes to overall health. It’s not surprising, then, that scientists at University of California, Los Angeles found a link between pet ownership and fewer medical visits, or that Medicare reported the same phenomenon in a study of hundreds of senior citizens.

Owning a dog is sure to keep you active, as the owner of a mutt rescued from

Animal Shelter has learned. “We walk in the morning and at night and we spend 40 minutes in Bryan Park every afternoon. I enjoy the walks almost as much as my dog.”

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