Pet Therapy Offers Heart Healthy Benefits
Dogs are affectionately called man’s best friend. But did you know their companionship also offers benefits for your heart health? Studies show a canine companion can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress.
- According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease:
- Studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and resting heart rates than people who do not have a pet, even when they had a similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profile.
- Research shows dog owners are more likely to be physically active than non-dog owners -- tending to walk longer and more often.
- A study found that younger children whose families owned a dog were less likely to be overweight or obese compared with children in families without a dog.
- Additional research has found that pets lower stress and help heart patients live longer.
Lexington Medical Center has a long-established program where certified pet therapy dogs visit patients in the hospital. The dogs are a popular and important part of Lexington Medical Center’s Volunteer Services department. Because of limits on visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pets aren’t visiting at this time. But Lexington Medical Center looks forward to the day when it can welcome its favorite four-legged volunteers back.