When you think about making healthy choices to
lower your risk for heart disease, a few things come immediately to mind: eat
more fruits and veggies; cut down on red meats and saturated fats; get more
exercise; quit smoking, etc. Should we also consider adopting a pet?
show that owning a pet can help you lower your cholesterol and triglyceridelevels—which directly benefit your heart health.
If your pet is a dog, the news is even better. Rover might actually help you live longer. Researchers studying a group of 421 adults who’d experienced a heart attack, found
that those who owned dogs were significantly more likely to be alive a year
later than those who did not own dogs—regardless of how serious their heart
The results of a large Michigan survey, tell us that dog owners are much more likely to get the government
recommendation of at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, including
moderately intense exercise. Another study showed that individuals who
continued walking their dogs into their 70s and 80s could walk longer and
faster and had greater mobility at home than others their age.
In addition to providing physical benefits, most kinds of
pets can have a positive effect on our emotional well-being and even our social
skills, according to psychologists. One study even found
that just watching a Lassie movie can lower stress.
The calming effects of pets on your heart rate and
blood pressure are even present during high-stress situations. And the company of our pets helps us to
recover more quickly from a stressful event than the presence of either a
friend or spouse.
recognizing that an animal’s ability to calm and nurture is helpful to the healing
process, offer pet therapy for patients. At Allegiance Health, a Great Pyrenees called Rose and Mexican Chihuahua sisters Daisy and Lilly are among a group of therapy
dogs who make regular visits to both adult and pediatric patients. Click here to see a video of Rose at work.