There’s more & more research showing that living with a pet protects our hearts, keeps us healthier, and can save OUR lives as well! The American Heart Association, after having reviewed studies focusing on blood pressure, heart rate & physical activity, has concluded that there is a significant connection between pet ownership and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Do you find yourself walking more because you own a dog? The AHA says that if you own a dog you’ll walk more hours/week, have a significantly lower systolic blood pressure, reduce your risk of CVD & lessen your chances of becoming obese.
If you live with a cat, your risk of death due to CVD (including stroke) is also significantly reduced. In fact, cat owners are about 40% less likely to have a heart attack than those without a feline companion!
In addition, both cats and dogs help us react less to acute stress, and keep our blood pressures at lower levels to prepare us to deal with stressors that do occur. They contribute to providing social support, often providing a mechanism for conversation and interaction with other animal lovers. The power of touch is also important. Studies have shown that blood pressure goes down when a person pets a dog or a cat. And when your cat purrs, the fluctuation between 20-140 Hz, has been proven to be medically therapeutic in many ways, including the lowering of stress and blood pressure.
So what should you do to help protect your heart? Head out for a stroll with your pooch or swoosh a chase-toy with your cat; find some people who want to see cute cell phone pictures of your furry family and want to share some with you as well; stretch out on your couch and stroke under those furry chins; and let yourself feel the love.