You may already know that getting a dog is beneficial for your health – both mental and physical. A puppy is a great companion who helps you feel not alone, motivates you to move more, and allows you to have more fun. However, did you know that a dog can not only help you deal with loneliness and depression but also with your heart issues?
There are several scientific reasons how a dog can improve your cardiovascular system. We’ll cover some of them in this article: staying active, losing weight, having social support, de-stressing, decreasing blood pressure, and some more.
If you want to learn how a puppy can help you feel better, read on – and add these reasons to your pros list for getting a furry friend. And then, when you finally decide to get a dog, make sure to check out the best dog breeds for your health. For example, adopt a Goldendoodle. Goldendoodles are great as service dogs because of their pleasant demeanor, and they definitely do well on social support
#1. Being Active
A dog is a great companion for walking and running. It can keep you active and motivated to move more. Your dog will drag you out of the house and make you go for walks, even when you don’t feel like it. A family dog, or a dog you walk with every day, will also make you feel less lonely and isolated, which is another big health benefit.
Everyone needs to be physically active to have a strong and healthy heart. The problem is, most people are not active enough – but if you have a dog, you will be more motivated to move more.
#2. Lose Weight
Heart diseases are often connected to being overweight. Fortunately, if you have a dog, that is not an issue you should worry about.
Researchers found that dog owners are more likely to lose weight than people without dogs. Dog owners are more likely to take their dogs for a walk, which means they are more physically active than other people – and it’s better for their health. Moreover, many other factors that we cover in this article are associated with lower BMD (body mass index).
#3. Have Social Support
Dogs help socialize people, especially those who are often isolated from the rest of the world. People who own dogs are more likely to interact with others than people who don’t have any pets. This is especially true for older people who live alone and are often left out of social activities because they can’t drive or have no one to take them anywhere. Dogs provide these people with social support and make them feel needed and wanted.
Another study found that people who own dogs are less likely to suffer from depression compared to people who don’t have any pets. This is because dogs provide emotional support to their owners. People who suffer from depression have a hard time creating an emotional connection with other humans – but they can bond with a dog easily.
Why is that important? For people with heart issues, depression can increase the risk of heart attacks or blood clots, and for healthy people – the risk of getting heart problems. A dog helps you deal with depression right from the start, allowing you to feel happy and needed.
#4. Decrease Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often called a “silent killer” – it often shows no symptoms, but it is one of the most common factors that can put your heart health at risk.
Several studies have found that owning a dog can lower your blood pressure. Not only is that cause by your increased physical activity, but also by the calming effect that dogs have on humans. There is also evidence that even petting a dog can decrease your blood pressure significantly. All that has a beneficial impact on your cardiovascular system and reduces your risk of getting heart disease.
#5. Reduce Stress Levels
Another study found that people who have dogs or cats are under less stress than people who don’t have any pets. This is because when you play with a pet, your levels of serotonin and dopamine rise, which calms and relaxes you. Moreover, even petting your dog reduces the level of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin while decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Why is that important? Stress is one of the factors that impact your heart health – it can lead to heart attacks or stroke. Thus said, if you want to reduce your stress levels, getting yourself a dog is the best solution.
#6. Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Cholesterol and triglyceride are two fats found in your body that are often connected to the higher risk of stroke and other heart diseases. There have been some studies suggesting that owning a dog is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels – although they haven’t explained why that happens. Perhaps that is so because dogs help you stay calm, active, and fit – thus keeping your BMI within the norm.
#7. Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep quality is another important factor when it comes to your heart health – and owning a dog may improve your sleep quality as well. According to researchers, people who own dogs sleep better than people who don’t own pets. This is because they feel safer at night – so they don’t worry as much about burglars or intruders breaking into their homes, which makes them fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly through the night.
Moreover, the better you feel during the day, the better you sleep – and we’ve established that dogs make you happier – by helping you stay active, calm, and have fun.
Getting a puppy not only makes you happier but also healthier. Dogs make you active and motivated to move more, lose weight, have social support, reduce stress levels, decrease blood pressure, and improve your sleep quality. They also provide you with emotional support and help you deal with depression. All that has a beneficial impact on your cardiovascular system.
Thus said, if you want to take good care of your heart – get a dog. It doesn’t matter whether you buy one or adopt – but that you love him and have fun with him.