A dog is everyone’s best friend! Having any pets can actually keep a person healthier. Pet ownership has helped people improve their emotional and mental health. And being a pet owner can even help lower one’s blood pressure, according to Augusta Health, a hospital in Virginia.
According to resource website Aging in Place, bonding with animals for just 15 minutes actually sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. That means heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and can even help protect against heart disease and stroke! Who knew having a pet is actually beneficial for a person’s health!
Pets help owners improve their heart health
Having a pet can actually help protect the heart. The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have conducted heart-related studies on people with pets. Research findings from these studies show that pet owners have decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. This is known to minimize heart attack risks, states Augusta Health. Individuals who have already experienced a heart attack also have better recovery rates when they also care for a pet. These benefits are tied to pets’ tendencies to help reduce their owner’s stress levels.
Pets reduce the chance of high blood pressure
According to research done by the National Library of Medicine, recent research on human-dog interactions showed that talking to and petting a dog are accompanied by lower blood pressure. In the study, 60 male and female undergraduates with positive or neutral attitudes toward dogs interacted with a dog tactually, verbally, and visually, while their blood pressure heart rates were being recorded. The results revealed that the participant’s blood pressure levels were lowest when they were with a dog. Participants’ heart rates were also lower while talking or touching the dog and higher while both touching and talking to the dog.
Pets encourage exercise
There are many direct physical benefits of owning a dog. These include increased physical activity, which can help you lose or maintain weight, lowered blood pressure, and reduced stress, states Harvard Medical School. In fact, owners who walk their dogs are less likely to be obese than people who don’t own a dog or who pass off those walking duties to someone else, says Augusta Health.
Pets help people feel integrated
Sally Morgan, a physical therapist, discusses how people who find themselves living alone for the first time in years after a spouse dies, a divorce, or even simply after the children move out of the house having group dog walks and other events keep people included in the community. She states, “People over 50 are more keyed into their animals because their lives are settling down, there are no kids in the house and the dog is always with you and you’re not running to soccer games and building a career.”