As you already know, having a pet as part of your family can warm your heart and bring you happiness. But what you may not know is that pets can protect your heart health too! February is American Heart Month, so what better time to talk about all the ways in which our furry companions can help ward off heart disease? As pet owners ourselves, our caring team members at Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert understand that pets have a lot to teach us about heart-warming qualities like love and loyalty. Here are some of the other incredible things they can do for our hearts:

Lower Blood Pressure

Several studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than those who don’t own dogs. This may be because dogs tend to have a calming effect and because dog owners tend to be more active. Touch also appears to be an important factor. Several studies show that blood pressure goes down when a person pets a dog.

Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Some studies show that owning a dog is connected with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. According to Harvard Medical School, a large study found that dog owners had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-dog owners. Factors like diet, smoking, or body mass index (BMI) couldn’t explain the difference, though the exact reasons for the contrast weren’t immediately evident.

Relieve Stress

Stress is a huge risk factor for heart disease. Anyone who owns a pet knows the calming effect they can have on us. Pets also provide social support, which is an important factor in relieving stress and living longer. This study conducted in 2018 found that pets had a greater impact on stress-related rises in blood pressure than ACE inhibitors alone.

Increase Physical Activity

Owning a dog also typically means you will be more physically active, which is a great way to relieve stress and lower your risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily exercise than those who don’t own dogs.

Pets can protect your heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, relieving stress, increasing activity levels, and boosting overall happiness and wellbeing. Though your pet helps to protect your health, it’s up to you to protect your pet’s health by bringing them in for regular check-ups here at Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert. We’re committed to keeping your fur babies healthy with top-of-the-line, compassionate care, because we know how much they mean to you and your family.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/28/2019) Pixaby