Cardiovascular Effects of Human-Pet Dog Interactions

Cardiovascular Effects of Human-Pet Dog Interactions


The cardiovascular effects of pet ownership are not yet fully understood. However, previous research has found significant connections between pet ownership and Oxytocin levels, blood pressure, and stress reactivity. A recent study tested whether a pet dog's presence decreases stress and improves heart health. Participants in the study included 32 dog-owning college students. Half of them had their dogs with them while half had their dogs absent. The dependent measures included heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and mean arterial blood pressure. However, after the study, the results did not support the hypothesis.

Pet ownership

The presence of a pet dog in one's life has been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Although the relationship between pet dogs and owner health and well-being is still controversial, research shows that the presence of a pet dog in one's life may reduce cardiovascular risk. This relationship may be due to the social support that dogs provide and to the fact that dogs are a great motivator to exercise. A study conducted in Sweden analyzed the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease and death among 34,202 participants. It used time-to-event analysis with 95% confidence intervals to determine the relationship between dog ownership and CVD.

Positive interactions between humans and dogs have been shown to reduce cortisol levels in children and adults. These effects are associated with reduced stress and increased oxytocin levels. A recent study in Germany also showed that having a pet reduced stress and anxiety in older adults. However, these results are subject to subjectivity, as they are based on self-reports. This is why it is important to do a thorough review of research before making a final decision.

The association between pet dog ownership and cardiovascular disease was stronger in those with pets than in those without pets. Owners of pets showed lower risk for all-cause mortality, heart attack, and haemorrhagic stroke. The association between pet dog ownership and reduced risk of heart disease has been noted in cats, too. Cats also provide more opportunities to relax and may contribute to buffering heart health over time.

Oxytocin

A new study has found that oxytocin, a natural neurotransmitter, increases heart rate in humans during social interactions with pets. The results, however, are contradictory to previous studies. In fact, most of them have not found a significant increase in peripheral oxytocin levels. Therefore, these results need to be confirmed by more human and animal studies.
The enduring social bonds between a human and a pet dog may also have a positive impact on the body's heart rate and fitness. Studies have found that dogs may adjust their behavior in response to nonverbal cues from their humans. For example, dogs given exogenous oxytocin looked at their owners more often and their owners' oxytocin levels rose significantly after interacting with their pets. Researchers have even hypothesized that these changes are linked to an interspecies oxytocin-mediated positive feedback loop.

The authors of this study concluded that oxytocin increased heart rate in dogs after 15 minutes of stroking with their owners. Furthermore, they found that oxytocin levels increased in dogs following mutual gaze, stroking, and touching from their owners. Further, they observed that oxytocin levels increased in both human and dog saliva after social interactions. The findings are the first evidence for the benefits of these interactions, which have become widely accepted as an effective way to improve human-pet relationships.

Studies have also shown that humans who engage in human-pet dog interactions experience less stress than those without a dog. Several studies have found that dogs' presence reduces blood pressure and heart rate, as well as buffers against increased stress parameters. These effects may be stronger when the person has their own pet. But, there's more. For example, dogs can be a great companion for heart attack patients. And they are more likely to recover faster than people who never have pets.

Stress reactivity

The study of stress reactivity during human-pet dog interactions was conducted by a team of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health and Mars-WALTHAM(tm) Public Private Partnership. The researchers used a well-established social stress test to measure a child's stress response to human-pet dog interactions. Children were asked to complete tasks in front of two judges that involved speaking and performing mental arithmetic. The children's responses were compared to their peers.

The study investigated the effects of pet ownership and exposure to therapy dogs on physiological stress reactivity. Compared to the non-pet-dog control group, participants in the study had lower systolic blood pressure and galvanic stress response. These results indicate that exposure to therapy dogs has positive effects on a patient population. These benefits are reflected in a number of physiological measures, including blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary alpha-amylase levels.
In humans, stress responsiveness is largely affected by the characteristics of the human and dog dyad. Although there is no clear evidence that dog-human relationships are associated with higher levels of cortisol than those between humans, a study in the UK indicates a high correlation between human-pet dog dyads. The study also noted that human-dog interaction is affected by the gender-sex combination of the dyad.

The study also indicated that young dogs are most vulnerable to stress and that pregnant bitches are particularly vulnerable. However, it is worth pointing out that dogs of the same age and breed have substantial differences in their stress responsiveness. In addition to this, some dogs may show more aggressive responses than others. Even when dogs are in shelters, some animals may be overly stressed. Therefore, the study concluded that the presence of humans in shelters can improve the welfare of dogs and prevent a potential crisis for the animal.

Blood pressure

There are many reasons why blood pressure can rise in human-pet dog interactions. The most common cause is stress, but other causes may include concurrent endocrine conditions, hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes mellitus. Depending on the underlying condition, medications and dietary changes may be used to control blood pressure. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is necessary to ensure it is being reduced to a healthy level.

One study found that pet owners with high BP had lower heart rates compared with those with normal blood pressure. The study included 31 participants who owned 21 dogs, eight cats, and three dog-cat combinations. Both groups had their ABP measured every 20 minutes during the study, and both dogs and humans were assessed for heart rate and blood pressure using activity monitors. Additionally, diaries were used to track participants' mood and pet presence. Generalized estimating equation analysis was used to identify any potential correlations between dog owners and their ABP.

Another study found that interacting with a pet dog reduced blood pressure levels in humans. The authors looked at six different types of interactions with dogs, including petting and talking with them. Their findings were interesting, as they found a link between pet ownership and reduced blood pressure in children and adults. These findings could have important implications for those with hypertension and may provide new insights for treatment. The study also suggests some areas for further research.
Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that petting a dog for 15 minutes reduced blood pressure by 10%. They attributed this effect to the dog's ability to lower stress hormones and increase serotonin - a key anti-depressant hormone. The study also revealed that dog-owners tend to walk more often, which might help reduce blood pressure. If you want to lower your blood pressure, get a pet!

Sleep

The positive effects of human-pet dog interactions on blood pressure are well-known. Pet owners who talk and pet their dog have lower blood pressure than those who do not interact with their dog. The researchers conducted a study in which 60 undergraduates interacted with a pet dog and their BP and heart rate were recorded automatically. The results indicated that human-pet dog interactions reduced stress and cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is still a lot of research needed to fully understand the benefits of this beneficial relationship.

In this review, the authors summarize the current research on human-animal interactions, focusing on studies involving human-pet dogs and their owners. The study design and subjects vary, as do the instruments and interventions used. While most of the published studies have been descriptive, they still provide promising data for the health benefits of human-pet dog interactions. The authors recommend that future research use more rigorous design and methods and build on a definite line of inquiry.
Future studies should account for socioeconomic and comorbid medical conditions. The results from these studies should be based on prospective cohorts and should use robust statistical methods. In addition, the researchers recommend implementing a preventive cardiovascular program for both human and pet owners. If such a program is implemented in the future, the association between pet-ownership and CVD risk will be much stronger. This study has shown that the positive effects of human-pet dog interactions on blood pressure are greater than those of human-pet dog interaction alone.

Compared to non-pet dog owners, pet owners had better health than non-pet owners. Moreover, they reported lower health care costs, decreased loneliness, and a greater social support system. Similarly, the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey surveyed 10,000 participants and found that pet ownership reduced physician visits over the course of five years. These results highlight the importance of pet ownership for reducing CV risk.

References

1) Vormbrock, J. K., & Grossberg, J. M. (1988). Cardiovascular effects of human-pet dog interactions. Journal of behavioral medicine11(5), 509-517.
2) Friedmann, E., Katcher, A. H., Thomas, S. A., Lynch, J. J., & Messent, P. R. (1983). Social interaction and blood pressure: influence of animal companions. 
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.
3) Jenkins, J. L. (1986). Physiological effects of petting a companion animal. Psychological Reports58(1), 21-22.
4) Baun, M. M., Bergstrom, N., Langston, N. F., & Thoma, L. (1984). Physiological effects of human/companion animal bonding. 
Nursing research.
5) Friedmann, E., Katcher, A. H., Lynch, J. J., & Thomas, S. A. (1980). Animal companions and one-year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit. 
Public health reports95(4), 307.

By Fatih