“Obvious researching findings for $200 please” is exactly what I thought when I read the newest research where Experts Say, Your Pet Is Making Your Heart Healthier because DUH of course they do (I say this petting my husky and german shepard).
In all seriousness, there is quite a bit of science and evidence to back this claim up…
“Owning a pet — especially a dog — seems to have heart health benefits. The data is most robust for people who own a dog.” – Glenn Levine, a cardiologist with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston
He also says there’s reason to believe cats and other pets are helpful, too.
So why may this be true?
Researchers compared people with borderline high blood pressure who adopted dogs with others who also wanted dogs but were randomly assigned to delay the adoptions for purposes of the study.
What they found was that those who brought home their dogs saw declines in blood pressure and were less likely to see their blood pressure and heart rates rise in response to stress.
A study with cats and dogs produced similar results in people with high blood pressure and high-stress occupations, he says.
The study concluded that:
- Dogs may keep owners active (all those walks). In one study, dog owners were 54% more likely than other adults to get recommended levels of exercise.
- Interacting with a pet can lower stress responses in the body.
- Pet ownership is associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and less obesity.
And this wasn’t the only group of experts who agree. Even the American Heart Association made a statement saying:
Studies have shown that having a pet can help increase fitness levels, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and boost overall happiness and wellbeing. Pets also provide social support, which is an important factor in helping you stick with new healthy habits. (Source)
One study found that dog-walkers got an average of 30 minutes more exercise a day than non-walkers.
And if you don’t have a pet, don’t rush out to adopt one just to have a healthier heart and life. The AHA says:
Of course, we’re not suggesting adopting a pet as a cure-all for bad habits. The primary purpose of pet adoption or rescue should be to provide the animal a loving home and to enjoy the companionship. But if having a pet will help you move more, then it’s a win-win! (Source)
So, if you have a pet and happen to spend time walking or playing with it, you’re likely healthier and have an overall healthy and happy life.