Could Owning a Dog Help Protect You Against Heart Disease?

Owning a Dog and Heart Disease

It seems as if it could help, as over the last few years there have been many studies into the connection between owning a pet and cardiovascular disease. Apparently, owning a pet, in particular, a dog is thought to potentially help reduce your risk of heart disease.

There are a variety of reasons why pet ownership could be helpful.

Could Owning a Dog Help Protect You Against Heart Disease?

Increased Physical Activity and Social Interaction

Firstly, people who own dogs tend to gain more exercise. Exercise is a major factor in helping to reduce heart disease. Regular exercise makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, and it’s useful for anybody hoping to lose weight.

Secondly, dog walking tends to be quite a social activity which can provide valuable support. Especially for anybody who lives on their own and who wouldn’t otherwise interact with others on a regular basis.

Then there’s also the emotional support pet owners gain from the unconditional love given by a dog.

In one particular study, 5200 adult dog owners in Japan were found to have gained significantly more physical activity compared to non-dog owners. More than half were more likely to meet the recommended levels of physical activity.

However, unfortunately, a significant number of dog owners will not bother to exercise their pet and will not reap this benefit from pet ownership.

While many people will benefit from additional exercise when they buy or adopt a dog, there is very little data to show if pet ownership can have a beneficial effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Apparently, it may help to decrease levels slightly, and people with pets, who have heart disease may be more likely to survive heart attacks.

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You Don’t Have to Own a Dog to Make a Positive Lifestyle Change

In spite of the potential benefits of pet ownership, it’s certainly not a reason to get a dog. Anyone who doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a pet can still potentially reduce their risk of heart disease by exercising more.

Walking is an excellent way to improve health, and it’s an incredibly simple way to make a positive change to your heart health.

Getting out in the fresh air and walking is the easiest form of exercise, and it’s completely free. Walking has also been shown to have the lowest dropout rate of all forms of exercise, and all you need to do is to walk for at least half an hour a day to help improve your heart health.

It’s been shown that half an hour’s walking each day will improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, along with your blood lipid profile. Regular walking makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight, and it reduces your risk of becoming overweight.

Another side effect of walking is that it helps to make you feel better, enhancing your sense of well-being. It can reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and it may reduce your risk of developing other common diseases such as breast and colon cancer.

Regular walks will also help reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes. To make it even more enjoyable, arrange to walk with friends. It’s an excellent idea to plan new routes to walk neither of you has been before or to take walks that are convenient for you both.

Get Regular Checks for Your Heart Health

If you are worried about your heart health or have a family history of heart disease, it’s a very good idea to make sure your heart health is regularly monitored. You don’t have to wait until you develop a cardiovascular disease before you see a cardiologist.

Often by making some simple lifestyle changes, you can help reverse any early signs of heart disease and can prevent debilitating conditions from developing. If necessary, a good cardiologist can also prescribe medications to help lower blood cholesterol or blood pressure levels.

Many different medical management techniques can contribute to control risk factors. Often the lifestyle changes required are quite straightforward, and even if you don’t want to go to the local dog pound to adopt a furry friend, many other easy things will help to make a significant difference to your heart health.


“Could Owning a Dog Help Protect You Against Heart Disease?”

Guest Writer Bio: Emma Kalman started writing at the age of 14. As the years passed she studied many fields including health, research and a variety of writing styles. Today she is a writer of health and wellness, technology, pet products and fashion articles, poetry, short stories, as well as children’s stories. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Also by Emma Kalman:  Top 6 Popular Dog Items Suiting any Breed

Animal Bliss - A really cool blog about Animals - domestic pets and wildlife too.

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Jeanne Melanson, Founder of Animal Bliss, a very cool blog about animals - wildlife and domestic too

Animal Bliss - A really cool blog about Animals - domestic pets and wildlife too.

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3 thoughts on “Could Owning a Dog Help Protect You Against Heart Disease?”

  1. Hi Jenne,

    Loved your blog, you are right, primary health benefits from petting a dog is derived through long walks. Though there could be a feel-better factor that could lower the blood pressure and that also contributes to the health of the heart.

    Heart disease is indeed the number 1 killer but it could be completely prevented, if necessary life style changes are adopted.

  2. It’s interesting to hear that people who have pets and heart attacks may have better rates of survival than non pet owners. You make a good point about pet owners getting more exercise.


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