Healthy pet = healthy hearts

Posted: 29 September 2022 at 9:22 am

Today (29 September) is World Heart Day, a day to remember that cardiovascular disease is something that matters to every beating heart. Heart disease and stroke claim 18.6 million lives yearly, and our pets are one of the many ways we can improve our cardiovascular health.

Pets keep us active

As pet owners, whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, horse or parrot, they keep us active and stimulated in different ways. Some pets keep us physically active with walks and sporting activities, and others keep us busy just by taking care of them and interacting with them! Regular exercise enhances the muscle’s ability to draw oxygen from the blood, putting less of a burden on your heart.

They can decrease loneliness

People living alone are more susceptible to feelings of loneliness, and when you have survived a heart attack or stroke, your recovery can be more challenging. However, studies have shown that heart attack survivors who live alone and own a dog have a 33 per cent lower risk of death. Having a companion animal by your side can make the darkest days feel much brighter.

Pets reduce stress

If you’re an animal lover, having pets around you provides excellent stress relief. Interacting with animals decreases cortisol levels, a stress-related hormone in your body, lowering your blood pressure. Even simply stroking your pets has been known to improve your mood by releasing the feel-good hormone oxytocin – the power of pets is impressive!

Remember, it’s not all about us; our pets need healthy hearts too. By keeping your pets active with a nutritious diet and a strong social bond with their owner, they’ll live a happy and fulfilled life.