Dogs and Your Heart Health - PIH Health

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Published on October 27, 2015

Dogs and Your Heart Health

Dogs and heart health

A Canine Companion May Help Improve Your Heart Health

Dogs and heart healthDog lovers know how much warmth and comfort their canine companions add to their lives. But they might not know the health benefits.

Studies linking pet ownership to better physical and mental health have been popping up for decades. The findings were usually encouraging to pet owners, but none of these studies offered conclusive proof. Although that’s still lacking, a panel of experts from the American Heart Association (AHA) has weighed all the available evidence. The verdict: Having a pet—a dog in particular—likely lowers the risk of heart disease.

Ways Pets Can Help with Your Heart Health

A Healthier Heart

Your dog may make you less likely to get heart disease. Dog owners tend to walk more and have lower blood pressure than people without a dog.

Heart attack survivors and people with serious abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than people with the same heart problems, who don’t have pets.

Stress Soothers

Petting your pet can help with lowering your blood pressure, helps your body release a relaxation hormone and can also help cut down levels of stress hormone.

Social Magnets

Pets, especially dogs, can help you connect with other people. People tend to feel more comfortable starting conversation with people with pets, while outside walking down the sidewalk, parks etc.

Better Mood, More Meaning

People with pets are generally happier, more trusting and less lonely than those who don’t have pets. They also visit the doctor less frequently for minor problems. Pets give people a sense of belonging and meaning. Therefore you have a greater control of your life.

Benefits for Baby’s Immune System

Babies who are raised in homes with pets tend to be less likely to get allergies and asthma, some studies show. Babies with pets have fewer colds and ear infections during their first year then babies with pet-free homes.

The simple act of getting a dog is no substitute for a plan to get regular physical activity, to eat a heart-healthy diet and to get regular medical care.

This article was reviewed and approved by Gerald Beckham MD, a cardiologist at PIH Health.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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