Dog Walking: A new prescription for heart patients?
Walking the dog may just seem like part of the daily routine for a dog owner, but have you ever stopped to think about the health benefits? Doctors in the UK have.
They have started prescribing dog walking to patients who are recovering from heart surgery.
Dog walking as prescribed treatment?
It may not be as strange as it sounds.
The Dogs Trust Charity is an organization that believes this treatment will help improve patients’ physical, social and psychological well-being. This organization has started an initiative at Harefield Hospital, where, as part of the final stages of a patient’s post-op rehabilitation, they are asked to volunteer at a local dog shelter. Doctors believe that this type of treatment will encourage patients to exercise and work on living a healthier lifestyle.
Walking has always been a part of cardiac rehabilitation, but this is the first time dog walking has been offered. Nurse Lynda Evans, a nurse at Harefield, has seen previous studies that indicate pets help calm stressed patients while also reducing their loneliness. She believes having a dog walk with you is beneficial,
“Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for patients recovering from a cardiac event, and what better way to do it than alongside a grateful canine companion.”
Patients couldn’t agree more. Michael Knepper couldn’t help but smile once he began caring for the dogs after he underwent a serious cardiac operation,
“With cardiac rehab you have to change your mindset and walking a dog is a great way to do that.”
The Dogs Trust Charity is trying to spread the word about dog walking and its health benefits.Their CEO states,
“...we hope that GPs and hospitals will start to encourage patients to engage with dogs for a healthier and happier lifestyle.”
This charity hopes other hospitals will follow with this type of treatment and “prescribe a daily dose of dog.”
Have you had your dose of dog today?