Pawsitive Impact: The Surprising Link Between Dog Ownership and Dementia Prevention
Can owning a dog reduce your chances of developing dementia? The short answer is YES!
A study conducted in Japan is the first to suggest that dog ownership has a protective effect on the development of owner incident disabling dementia. The 4-year study analysed 11,194 Japanese participants who lived with a pet (current, past or never), medically assessing them for dementia characteristics.
The proven benefit is linked to activity that dogs encourage; according to the research, the exercise habit and social participation involved with dog ownership can prevent dementia in older adult. With an “exercise habit” meaning moderately intense physical activity (150 mins/week), dog owners were 2.5 times more likely to achieve this quota than participants that do not own a dog.
Additional opportunities for social interaction are also associated with dog walking, and have been proven to improve psychological health in older adults.
For those intrigued cat owners out there, the study also covered any benefits of cat ownership! Unfortunately though… unless you regularly walk your cat round the block, there is no proven benefit in this case.
So, on top of everything else, our furry friends forcing us out in all weathers could be contributing to your neurological function in the long run. Looks like it’s time to don the wellies and mackintosh and get those steps in!