World Heart Day Special: Adopt a pet for a heart healthy

Having a pet at home, especially a dog is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is World Heart Day today and a moment for all pet owners to rejoice, for as compared to non-pet owners, you have a reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.

All those who have a furry friend are aware of the content and calming feeling they get when they are around them. They are not just pets to them but companions and friends with whom they can share their sorrows and happiness. Dog ownership helps tackle loneliness, depression, reduce stress levels and promote a more positive outlook on life. It also encourages regular exercise, which helps keep several key lifestyle diseases at bay.

A recent report published by Harvard showcases how the health benefits of owning a dog are undeniable. Dog owners are found to have lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels than non-owners. They are also at a lower risk of suffering from obesity and depression.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and Honorary Secretary General IMA said “There are several researches, which show that owning a dog is associated with lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. It also helps reduce the risk of hypertension and obesity. This is because dog ownership aids physical activity and helps reduce stress levels. It promotes a positive atmosphere at home and helps in spreading happiness. Regularly walking your dog also helps your body soak in the adequate levels of Vitamin D from the sun needed for a healthy heart. Regularly petting and playing with your dog balances your blood pressure and helps your body by releasing the relaxation hormone, oxytocin and reducing the level of the stress hormone known as cortisol.”

Adopting a dog just for the sake of potential health benefits is not a good idea. These canine beings need a lot of care and love. It is essential to keep a tab on the dog’s health so that it can help you in return. And if you are ready for it, then nothing should stop you from adopting a pet. One must remember, that while there is no direct relationship between the decrease of cardiovascular disease and owning a pet, a pet can definitely be a part of the overall approach towards achieving a healthy lifestyle and better heart health.