I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have said, “Eko nearly gave me a heart attack!” Between eating things they shouldn’t, escaping yards, emergency trips to the vet and just about every other imaginable cause, pets certainly have a knack for getting our blood pressure up.
“Little old me cause trouble? Never…”
We all know that pets are great for our metaphorical hearts – dogs are loyal and loving to a fault – I mean, even the Grinch had a faithful pup. But despite all the momentary cardiac crises listed above it turns out that pets can help contribute to the health of our actual heart.
One out of one Dr. Eko’s agree that pets promote a healthy heart
According to a new statement from the American Heart Association, observational evidence suggests that people with dogs likely have a reduced risk of heart disease. Dogs help people exercise more and a number of studies show that pets in general help people better cope with stress through a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. In my favorite study, one group of stockbrokers with hypertension were instructed to adopt a dog or cat. The stockbrokers with pets were found to react better to stress than the group of stockbrokers with hypertension who did not have a pet. I just love the image of tough big shot bankers melting in the arms of a pet.
Relaxing in front of a fire with Eko is about as stress free as you can get
As one of the doctors rightly cautions, a pet is by no means a panacea for heart risk and you should never get a pet unless your primary objective is to provide that pet a great home. But if you do have a pet, “there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk.”
So next time your pet “nearly gives you a heart attack” remember that overall they are probably doing their part to keep your heart healthy!