Like many pet lovers, you’re intimately familiar with the cozy, warm, and safe feeling of having a pet. Owning a pet has significant health benefits, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health and blood pressure in particular.
Your blood pressure reading measures how hard your heart pumps blood. With high blood pressure or hypertension, your heart works harder to keep you alive. A normal blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg while a reading of or above 130/80 mmHg is considered hypertensive.
High blood pressure often leads to serious medical problems, such as heart attack and stroke, if not properly managed. Sadly, only one in four adults (24 percent) have their high blood pressure under control. This is a staggering statistic when according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 47 percent of U.S. adults currently live with high blood pressure.
“The companionship and social support provided by pets can also have a positive impact on mental health, which in turn can benefit heart health,” says Mark Lewis, California-based Health Expert and Writer For TheConsumerMag.com
Indeed your blood pressure will be determined by many factors such as hereditary, exercise, diet, lifestyle choices, and stress. Pet ownership can help with several factors, particularly exercise and anxiety.
According to this study, dog parents are more likely to get about 155 additional minutes of walking per week when compared with non-dog owners. And according to this study, pet owners, particularly dog owners, were less likely to be obese when compared to non-owners and people who didn’t walk their dogs.
As we all know, being physically active reduces the risk of developing obesity, which is linked to high blood pressure.
Having a pet also helps to reduce stress as they have a calming effect on humans, allowing us to handle stress better. After all, just petting your dog can lower your blood pressure by about 10 percent, research shows.
Another study found that among 5741 people attending a screening clinic, men with pets had lower systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, the unholy trilogy of heart attack risk factors. Women in the study aged over 40 who had pets also had lower systolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
About 70 percent of U.S. households have pets. Although studies show that owning pets can positively influence a person’s health, there’s no one size fits all policy for choosing a pet.
“It’s important for potential pet owners to carefully consider their lifestyle, personality, and preferences before choosing a pet to minimize the risk of an incompatible match,” says Lewis.
Some people may prefer a cat or a fish, or a hamster. Choosing a pet that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or other factors in your life may cause stress, which, as you know, is not great for blood pressure.
According to Lewis, the health benefits appear equal between men and women as both genders experience reduced stress, improved cardiovascular health, and increased social support from owning pets.
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Dogs and cats may be popular favorites for most pet-loving humans, but they are not the only options.
Interacting with rabbits, turtles, and even hampsters and fish can have the same ability to lower blood pressure. For instance, just watching fish swimming in a tank can reduce blood pressure and anxiety, according to this study published in Environment and Behavior.
When deciding on a pet, consider one that best suits your lifestyle, temperament, and ability to care for it properly.
Pets can boost mood, reduce stress, and lower high blood pressure in pet owners. Monitoring your blood pressure will help you stay on top of your overall health by keeping your numbers in check. We’ve developed a wearable blood pressure monitor allowing 24/7 blood pressure readings.
Learn more about the Aktiia wearable today.
Disclaimer: If you are concerned about your blood pressure, it is best to speak to your doctor. They can advise on the best way to manage your blood pressure.
Facts About Hypertension, January 5, 2023 – https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure-facts
The influence of dog ownership on objective measures of free-living physical activity and sedentary behaviour in community-dwelling older adults: a longitudinal case-controlled study, 2017 – https://doi.org/1186-s12889-017-4422-5
Physical activity, weight status, and neighborhood characteristics of dog walkers, September 2008 – https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.05.007
Physiological Effects of Petting a Companion Animal, February 1986 – https://doi.org/2466-pr0-1986-58-1-21
Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, September 1992 – https://doi.org/j-1326-5377-1992-tb137178
Marine Biota and Psychological Well-Being, Environment and Behavior, July 28, 2016 – https://doi.org/10-1177-0013916515597512