Cardiac patients at a Greater London health trust are being encouraged to take a dog for a walk to help them back to good health.
The Dogs Trust charity has set up a scheme with Harefield Hospital in Uxbridge, which it says will help improve patients’ physical, social and psychological well-being.
The trust, which cares for around 150 dogs, said it hopes other hospitals will copy its Hounds Help Hearts initiative. It came out of a piece of research, The Dog Prescription, which points to how the animals can improve human health.
GPs around the UK are being urged to follow suit and “prescribe a daily dose of dog” to people who have recently had a heart attack or other related problems.
Nurse Lynda Evans, who works with Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust, said: “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.
“We are delighted to be working with the Dogs Trust on this initiative and partnering patients with dogs to help them reach their full potential through interaction and physical exercise.”