Pets Are Good for the Heart!

If you love dogs and cats, being around them probably puts you in a better mood. But did you know that being a pet owner has actual measurable benefits for your heart health?

1. Improved Health Status of Heart Patients

Dogs ease anxiety and improve the health status of hospitalized heart failure patients.

2. Anxiety Decreases

Researchers found that anxiety scores dropped 24 percent for participants who received a visit from the volunteer-dog team. Scores for the human volunteer-only group dropped 10 percent and the at-rest group’s score did not change.

3. Epinephrine Decreases

Levels of epinephrine, a hormone the body makes when under stress, dropped about 17 percent in patients visited by a person and a dog, and 2 percent in those visited just by a person. But levels rose about 7 percent in the unvisited group.

4. Heart Pressure Decreases

Heart pressure dropped 10 percent after the visit by the volunteer and dog. It increased 3 percent for those visited by a human volunteer and 5 percent for those who got no visit. Lung pressure declined 5 percent for those visited by a dog and a volunteer. It rose in the other two groups.

5. Decreased Stress

Simply having a pet in the room, not even touching it, decreases the stress response.

6. Benefits Blood Pressure

People with a dog or cat suffered only half the blood pressure increase of those without.

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