Can Owning a Pet Benefit Your Heart?

Pets provide love, warmth, and companionship. Read on and learn what having one does for your heart and overall well-being.

Apart from adding warmth and companion to our lives, pet ownership also provides a number of health benefits, such as relieving stress and increasing fitness. Studies suggest that it helps improve your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as boosting overall wellbeing and happiness.

Pet ownership and heart health

The connection between pet ownership and heart health is not entirely clear, but researchers suggest that it is probably because many healthier people have pets or those who own a four-legged friend (especially dogs) tend to exercise more. Another possible reason is that pets provide a calming effect, which makes owners happier and less stressed.

Dog ownership, some evidence suggests, is associated with lower triglycerides (fat lipids in the blood) and cholesterol levels, which can then reduce your risk of heart disease. It is also suggested that petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and this is due to the fact petting a dog (or a cat) feels good. This assists your body in releasing a relaxing hormone, as well as soothes your pet.

Being active with your pet

Taking care of a pet requires opportunities for regular physical activity, mainly because you have to take them outside for a walk. This can then offer additional benefits like increased fitness and a chance to meet new friends. Taking your dog to the park, for instance, may help you connect with others while walking your dog every morning allows you to get the daily exercise you need.

Cardiology centers in Heber note that there are many other ways to be active together with your dog. These include:

  • Running
  • Doing dog yoga
  • Climbing stairs (or stair-running)
  • Playing ball or a quick game or fetch
  • Joining a canine charity race
  • Taking a dip (bring your pet to a dog-friendly beach, lake, or pool)

Follow a healthy lifestyle

Adopting or having a furry pet can help, but it is still best to engage in healthy lifestyle habits. This can improve not just your heart health, but also your physical and mental health. Some of the things that can help include:

  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Avoiding or quitting smoking (or the use of tobacco products)
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet (plenty of fruits and vegetables)
  • Limiting salt or sodium in your diet
  • Finding ways to relieve stress
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Keeping up with your doctor’s appointments

A word on pet ownership

If you already have a dog or thinking of getting one, you may be able to reap positive contributions to your health and happiness. Just be sure not to get or adopt pets for the sole purpose of lowering your risk of heart disease. This is especially true if you are not able or ready to take on the responsibility of caring for dogs, which includes feeding, walking, grooming, and companionship.

Moreover, do take note that while having a dog provides health benefits, it cannot cure your bad habits. Your main goal for adopting or rescuing a pet should be to offer them a loving home, while providing care, love, and companionship. You can check out this quiz from American Kennel Club (AKC) to find out if you’re ready to get a dog.

While having a dog provides heart-health benefits, don’t forget to mind your lifestyle choices. You can get in touch with your doctor or a cardiology center for other ways of protecting your ticker.

This is a contributed post.

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