(WXYZ) – Dogs may be a man or woman’s best friend, but they’re more than just loyal companions.
Our furry friends can affect our health in many ways, even potentially lowering your risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.
If you’re a dog person, it’s likely no surprise to hear that our four-legged friends can actually boost our health
In fact, when I asked on social media how a dog can affect one’s health – there was no shortage of answers.
Dog lover Jennifer Domagalski posted “My dogs are absolutely good for my health. They encourage me to get outside even when I’m not feeling like it. My stress levels are much lower. My dogs are seriously my life and without them I would probably be depressed, lazy and stressed.”
It’s great to hear that Jennifer’s dogs motivate her to get out and be active. And it’s no surprise her stress levels are lower because petting a dog is soothing and research suggests that this helps your body release a relaxation hormone that cuts back on the stress hormone.
Another dog lover answered my Facebook post – Anita Berger has two sweet looking pooches called Molly and Oliver.
She wrote that dogs, “Calms resting heart rate, Blood Pressure. Probably releases endorphins and the unconditional love is up there too.”
Anita makes some great points and when it comes to blood pressure, studies have linked dog owners with not only lower blood pressure, but a faster recovery of blood pressure after stressful events. And this is very beneficial when it comes to your heart.
A study in Sweden looked at health records of more than 3 million people and found that dog owners had a 15% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease like a stroke or heart attack.
This protective effect was even more dramatic for those living alone with a dog – the risk of death was 36% lower from a cardiovascular cause.
Why having a dog lowers your heart disease risk is likely due to being more active, but also having a canine companion can also reduce feelings of loneliness, stave off depression, add meaning to your life and boost your mood.
So it appears that hanging out with your furry friend can do wonders not just for your heart but your overall health and well-being.
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Data pulled from WXYZ