Jesus in a jumpsuit – just look at the damn thing. Don’t you instantly feel more relaxed? While they themselves might not be doctors at this point it’s almost impossible to ignore the many health benefits of having a pet. But is something like your blood pressure able to actually be lowered just by owning one? Raise A Paw embarks on a leisurely exploration and asks, can a pet actually lower your high blood pressure?
Thankfully a lot of studies have been launched in to researching this very topic. I’m happy to report that the findings are an overwhelming, “Yes! In fact owning a pet can assist in lowering your high blood pressure!”
Known medically as hypertension, blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries. Your BP falls and rises all throughout the day but when it rises and doesn’t come back down it’s known as high blood pressure. Essentially, it’s smashing against the walls of your arteries and can over time result in some seriously bad stuff like a heart attack or stroke. The goal is to keep your BP at a nice, resting rate and the good news is that pets can assist with that.
In one study conducted of 240 married couples it was found that those who owned a pet had lower blood pressure in addition to lower resting heart rates than the couples who didn’t. The results remained true whether or not they were relaxing or undergoing some kind of stress test. Another study administered by the State University of New York found that stockbrokers who adopted a cat or dog were resulting in lower blood pressure rates than stockbrokers who did not have a pet even when those who did not have a pet were taking medication to lower it. While the stockbrokers who did have pets did have blood pressure that rose, it was found that those who didn’t were reading at higher rates than those who did.
Essentially what these studies are concluding is that while medication does obviously help lower blood pressure, having a pet is better at helping to control stress-related increases in blood pressure which is hugely important to keep in mind.
The thoughts behind why this is effective have more to do with the triggers of stress. Pets are found help combat loneliness, to be a silent comfort in times of need, to held you disengage from the present issues in your life that are bringing you stress – and they do so simply by a wag of the tail or curling up in your lap. Additionally, the actually act of petting your pet is relaxing and can at times be meditative – from the feel of the fur to the rhythmic breathing of a relaxed pet. While owning a pet can come with stresses of it’s own if you let it, it’s what stress-triggers in your life a pet can help combat which becoming an owner of a loving pet outweighs.
Plus, just look at the picture above. The moment you say, “awwwww,” you are instantly floating away to a moment of relaxation. It’s difficult to feel angry or upset when viewing adorable pictures of animals. This goes for watching them on tv or videos as well. All are found to momentarily help you disengage from whatever hassle is existing with you in that moment and at least give you a brief breath to relax.
Let’s not forget that pets love to straight up just love and they love to love you. To them it doesn’t matter if you are tall, short, heavy, slim, stressed out, tired, happy, sleepy or stupid. They love you and that’s comforting. What could possible be better medicine than that?
Disclaimer: We at Pawesome aren’t doctors, we just play them on internet TV. I’m kidding. Of course anytime we’re discussing a medical issue it’s important to remember that the information we are giving isn’t prescribed by a doctor. The information is hopefully meant to inform you about things involving your pets that you may not realize. So, if you do have high blood pressure please do not run out and scoop up eight dogs, bring them home and think your health will change. While that scenario may finally give you that all-pooch blue grass band you’ve been dying to create, it won’t magically cure your blood pressure or any other medical issue you may have.