The term “pet therapy” has been around for many years. Psychologists came up with this term after they realized that dogs were instrumental in getting patients to feel for comfortable in speaking to them. Dogs were even used to help wounded soldiers in the 19th century! Today, it’s been shown that heart attack patients recover faster and live longer when they have pets at home. Even petting your dog can help lower your blood pressure. The latter can be attributed to the release of oxytocin, known best at the cuddle hormone.
Oxytocin is the same hormone that helps mothers’ bond with their babies. An animal behaviorist from a university in Japan wondered if the hormone would have the safe effect on canines. Come to find out, both male and female dog owners experienced a 300 percent increase in the hormone! It is obvious that dogs have a calming effect. Some research has even suggested that people with dogs are less likely to experience an increased heart rate or blood pressure in times of stress, and that both are more likely to return to normal levels quickly. This means that the overall stress of the body is reduced which has a positive impact on the heart.
The American Heart Association says that owning a pet is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease and, helps lowering unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A pet can even help you to survive a heart attack, should you experience one. This might be attributed to the fact that people who have pets tend to be a bit more active. People with dogs especially tend to walk more – not that you should have a dog just to reduce your risk of heart disease.