As a dog owner, you know the benefits of owning a dog are unending - the cuddles, the kisses, the playing, the love! It doesn't get better than owning a dog. But did you know that owning a doggo can also bring you medical benefits?
It's true! Your pup can actually lower your blood pressure. Dog owners are less likely to get heart disease, and because of the factors that go into owning dogs, they're likely to have a lot less health problems!
Why is this? For lots of reasons! Typically, you'll walk more when you own a dog, which is super heart-healthy. There's also the stress-soothing aspect of it - petting your pup feels good and helps you to relax and release tension, lowering that pesky blood pressure. It also puts you in a better mood, keeps you social and lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease, and even premature death.
Check out some of the other ways dogs can reduce your blood pressure, signs your dog might be giving you that he can help, and even the science behind why dogs are blood pressure reducers!
Signs Your Dog Can Sense Your Blood Pressure
While it's pretty cool that your dog can help you lower your blood pressure, another neat thing about dogs is that they can sense when your blood pressure is increasing, spiking, or dropping. Dogs are being trained now to detect changes in human blood pressure, and often can even detect drastic changes in blood sugar - a great resource for diabetic people. They can even tell when their humans are going to have seizures.
What signs might your dog be giving you to let you know that your blood pressure is off? It starts with some strange behavior on your pup's part. Cardiac alert dogs can be trained to let you know about your blood pressure levels and typically they'll become far more alert, pin their ears up, stand the hair on their back up, and stiffen their tails up.
There are also notable signs you might be giving off that your blood pressure is lower because of your dog - signs you might not even notice. For example, you might have more energy, feel refreshed throughout the day, have lower blood pressure scores when you visit your doctor for check-ups, and feel healthier overall.
Historical Reasons Dog Can Lower Blood Pressure
There are a lot of different factors that go into how your dog can help lower your blood pressure. In fact, some of the historical reasons for this are pretty obvious. Since we started immersing dogs into our daily lives, we have had to learn how to properly accomodate their needs.
For example, owning a dog means more walking around, physical activity, and playing. All this exercise is great for your heart and your blood pressure. Studies even show that dog owners with serious, abnormal heart rhythms live longer than people with the same heart issues that don't have pets.
More than that, dogs put people in better moods and make them feel better, reducing stress. That's a huge factor in blood pressure - stress reduction! Petting your dog feels good and can help you release a relaxation hormone that cuts down your stress hormones.
The Science Behind Heart Health and Dogs
There's plenty of scientific evidence and research suggesting that human-dog interactions have can major impacts on blood pressure and human cardiovascular health. In PubMed.gov, a study was published that states that talking to and petting a dog are accompanied by lower blood pressure in people as opposed to human conversation.
To study this, about 60 peoples' neural attitudes toward dogs were studied with factors such as tactual, verbal, and visual when dealing with canines. The test subjects' heart rates were all recorded during the experiment when dealing with dogs, and it was noted that touching and talking to the dogs appeared to be a major factor in a blood pressure reduction.
How to Train Your Dog - and Yourself - to Stay Heart-Healthy
Your dog can provide you with a ton of natural benefits for lowering your blood pressure and staying healthy - but they can't do it all. It's important that you're training yourself to keep your blood pressure low, and training your dog to keep his, too.
Some of the best ways to do this are by making sure you and your dog are taking lots of walks together. Keep your dog on a strict walking and playing schedule to make sure the both of you are getting all the exercise you could need.
Practice keeping your pooch happy and healthy, too. The happier your dog is, the easier it is for you to also reap the healthy benefits your dog can offer you! Remember to feed the both of you a high-quality, species appropriate diet.
Written by a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 04/06/2020