AP NEWS

MEDICAL INSIGHTS: Dog Day

July 30, 2018

There are many benefits from owning a pet and if you own a dog, longevity is one of them. In a large Swedish study published in November 2017 , 3.4 million Swedes ranging in age from 40 to 80 years were followed during a 12 year study.

The authors reported that there was a 20% decrease in all cause mortality for dog owners compared to non-dog owners and a 23% decreased risk in cardiovascular death for dog owners.They therefore concluded that dog ownership was probably associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular death.The benefits were thought to related to social support as well as enhanced motivation fro walking and exercise.

Also of interest was the fact that single person households benefited more than married couples or multi person households. This could be due to the assumption that single persons walk their dog more often than those of multi person homes. It was also noted that those with hunting breed dogs seemed to benefit the most.

In another study reported on in the New York Times it seems that you do not necessarily need to own a dog to derive the benefits of ownership. College students at East Carolina University enrolled in a physical education course for credit and walked animal shelter dogs twice a week for about 50 minutes each time. The students averaged 1.06 to 3.23 miles per session twice a week for 10 weeks. The students reported that the time passed quickly and that the dogs seemed happy to be out and about. College students generally thought of as being physically inactive were therefore able to obtain credit for exercising animal sheltered dogs.

Older dog owners who walked their dogs at least once a day obtained 20% more physical activity than non dog owners. Also in another study, of 3,123 men and women ages 70 years and older it was noted that dog owners experienced less of a decrease in physical activity during inclement weather during cold and rainy

days.

Now the dog days of summer are here and noon day walking is somewhat prohibitory. The hottest days this time of year at least in the northern hemisphere follow the helical rising of Sirius the dog star. This binary star also known as Canis Majoris was written about by Homer the Greek poet.He mentioned Sirius in the Illiad as ” the brightest of all, but an evil portent bringing heat.” The Greeks associated Sirius with thunderstorms, heat, bad luck, and lethargy.

Don’t let 90 degree temperatures slow you down..find a time of day or night that is reasonable. That time could even be at night with Sirius the 300 million year old and also brightest star in the sky guiding you .

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