Key to a Healthier Heart? A Pet!

by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society

As pet owners, we all know they have stolen a piece of our hearts! But did you know they are also incredibly good for our hearts?

In a recent study, it was shown that cat owners between the ages of 30-75 are 30% less likely to die from a heart attack than non-cat owners of a similar age, and dog owners of the same age are 31% less likely.

It’s also been proven that petting a cat or dog is one of the greatest stress relievers and actually helps to lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association concluded through various studies that pet ownership in general lowers the risk of heart disease! 

Pet ownership, especially dogs, also leads to an overall healthier lifestyle because more time is spent outside walking and exercising. This increased physical activity helps to maintain a healthier weight that in turn helps with blood pressure, cholesterol levels and significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack. 

Having a dog means you are making a commitment to daily exercise, for you and for them. What I tend to find when wishing I didn’t have to go out for that walk is that I end up actually enjoying it, have a little more pep in my step, and I take time to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings in the process. I tend to leave the stress of the day behind me and just be in the moment with my baby girl! 

Pet ownership also helps make you more social by giving you a reason to interact with more people as you are out walking.  Just having an animal around helps you to feel less lonely because they are excellent therapists who listen to you and never judge!

So while pet ownership may be good for the soul, it is great for the heart!