Most people are aware of how big of an impact a pet dog can have on their lives on an emotional level. The companionship of a dog can help to diminish feelings of loneliness and stress, after all. However, what many people may not realize is that adopting a pet dog can have a positive effect on one’s physical health as well. Take for example the case of Eric O’Grey.
O’Grey was suffering from Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He also weighed 320 pounds and was spending over $1,000 a month on medication to treat his conditions. In 2010, he was in such bad physical shape that his doctor told him that he was likely to die within five years—he was 51 at the time. So he scheduled an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in the hopes of losing weight. The doctor told him to get a shelter dog.
O’Grey took his doctor’s advice and adopted an overweight, middle-aged dog—he wanted a dog that was like him. The dog, named Peety, needed to be walked on a daily basis. O’Grey began taking Peety on half-hour walks on a daily basis, while also adjusting his diet to a plant-based diet. Over just a single year, he lost 140 pounds and Peety lost 25 pounds. While the diet was an important factor in losing so much weight, so was the exercise that he was getting. More importantly, having a dog gave him an excuse to exercise—and it kept him from backsliding into unhealthy ways. It’s easy to stop going to a gym—but it’s hard to stop walking one’s dog.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, O’Grey’s story isn’t an outlier. They have stated that having a pet can help the owner to not only decrease feelings of loneliness, but also to decrease high cholesterol, high blood pressure and triglycerides. Not to mention that adopting a pet from a shelter benefits the pet as well! Here at The Benefits Store, we strive to keep Californians up-to-date with all the latest medical news.