By Satesh Bidaisee, DVM
Researchers just discovered a simple way to fight obesity, heart disease, and mental illness – by giving people puppies.
That may sound barking mad. But new medical research shows that dogs, cats, and other four-legged friends can significantly boost people’s physical and mental health – to the point where interacting with pets can actually be an effective form of therapy.
Consider how pets could help the 75 million Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, which increases the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. In one study of more than 1,500 people aged 60 and over, dog owners had systolic blood pressure that was 3.34 milligrams of mercury lower than that for non-owners. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in a person’s blood vessels when his heart beats – the first number in a blood pressure reading.