According to researchers from the American Heart Association, having a pet friend is good for your heart. Dog owners get more exercise than people who don’t have pets. However, scientists can’t say whether it is exercise or having a dog that contributes to heart health. It may be that people who have dogs also have healthy hearts. At the same time, the study shows that pet owners handle stress better. They are at a lower risk for obesity, high blood pressure, and high levels of bad cholesterol. The study included over 5,200 participants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 1 hour and 15 minutes of running and 2 hours and 30 minutes of brisk walking a week. Non-dog owners are less likely to meet the recommended minimum. The research indicates that dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. However, the lower risk of heart problems shouldn’t be the sole reason to adopt a pet.
Previously published studies have shown that having a pet friend lowers stress hormones such as the growth hormone, epinephrine, and cortisol. This helps people to deal with stressful events and emotional problems. Many companies have already recognized the fact that their employees are more efficient when their dogs are present. This may be linked to lower levels of stress as well as reduced blood pressure. Some companies even allow their employees to bring pets at work. Moreover, patients with high blood pressure see their dose reduced after adopting a pet. This has a positive and relaxing effect on their nervous system. Some studies have shown that non-dog owners are less likely to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while other studies found that adopting a pet helps lower blood pressure significantly. At the same time, dog owners who drink excessively, smoke a lot, eat junk food, and lead a sedentary lifestyle are as likely to have heart problems as non-dog owners. Further studies are necessary to find out whether adopting a dog or cat can help patients with preexisting medical conditions.