Want a Healthy Heart? Get a Dog!

Dog in a field

Want a Healthy Heart? ❤️ 

Get a Dog!

February is Healthy Heart Month. Heart disease can happen to anybody, not just older adults, so it is essential that we take care of ourselves. 

Evidence-based research has identified several critical risk factors that contribute to heart disease, including elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, physical inactivity, excess body weight, high salt intake, smoking, age, and family history.

While some risk factors are unavoidable, many are avoidable. With some modifications to your lifestyle, like eating a healthy diet, moderating alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly you can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Change Your Lifestyle

Getting a dog can help you change your lifestyle.

“What we found was that those who own a pet, particularly a dog, were healthier from the cardiovascular standpoint,” said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, who conducted the study.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can improve your heart health because it helps you maintain a healthy weight and controls blood sugar. Dogs will help keep you moving and are great mood-boosters, which is good for the heart and good for the soul. 

Lower Blood PressureBlood pressure

Several studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-owners. Probably because pets, dogs, in particular, have a calming effect on them and because dog owners tend to get more exercise. The power of touch also appears to be an important part of this "pet effect." Several studies show that blood pressure goes down when a person pets a dog.

Less Stress

Less stress

A dogs' calming effect on humans also appears to help people handle stress better. For example, some research suggests that people with dogs experience less cardiovascular reactivity during times of stress. That means that their heart rate and blood pressure go up less and return to normal more quickly, dampening the effects of stress on the body.

Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

There are so many benefits to boosting your health when you have a dog. Check out this book, Get Healthy, Get a Dog, by the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report.

Can’t Bring a Dog Home?

No worries! There are other ways you can help your health without bringing a dog home. You can always go to the local rescues and humane societies. They are always looking for volunteers to spend time with the animals, take the dogs for walks, or maybe just sit with them and read a book.

Walking a dog

Thank you for reading our blog and we encourage you to get out and walk your pup. Not only for your health but for his too! Our fur-babies can get bored and taking them for a walk around the block will do you both some good.

Be sure to like and follow us on social media and share your pictures and stories with us! We love to see and read your stories from all over! Use the hashtags #hearthealth #gettinghealthy #hearthealthmonth #takeawalk