Pets and Your Heart

Filed Under: Heart Health, General Health

Research confirms what you’ve probably known all along: Animals—especially those with which you’ve had a long-term relationship—can be good for your health! Dr. Sinatra and Chewie

The survival rate of people who suffer a heart attack has been found to be five times greater among those who leave the hospital and go home to a loving pet than those who go home to an empty house or a judgmental spouse!

There’s no doubt about it, our animal friends can literally open our hearts.  They can also help us to better manage some of the heart risk factors we worry about, like high blood pressure levels, high triglycerides, and poor blood circulation.  Here are some of the lessons we can learn from them:

  • Appreciation. Pets not only bring tranquil and playful energy to a space, they can teach us to be more relaxed and in tune with our bodies. Just look at how animals start their day. Do birds ever wake up grumpy? No, they chirp to the light of a new dawn!
  • Relaxation. Have you ever watched your cat arch his back? Some yoga postures mimic this stretch. Stretching, which involves deep breathing, is a great form of relaxation. It’s also a wonderful way to start your day instead of jumping out of bed and plowing ahead.
  • Presence in the moment. Animals know how to just “be.” They can hold a space as sacred, whether it’s their favorite sunning spot, or the mat by the front door. Observe your pets at these times. Watch as they tune out the world and practice the “art” of silence.
  • Discrimination. Animals are a lot smarter than people when it comes to stress. They know when to walk away from a potentially hopeless situation that threatens their well-being! For example, when things are looking bleak, cats just turn around, shake it off, and walk away to a secluded spot. They have an innate ability to tune out the environment and to become aloof in intolerable situations. On a similar note, they’re not afraid to say “no,” walking away when they can’t handle any more stimulation. This is a wonderful lesson that we can learn from.

If you’re recovering from a heart attack or stroke, other cardiovascular problems, or any health crisis for that matter, use these lessons from the animal kingdom to reconnect with your intuition.

If you can’t live with an animal because of allergies, travel, or some other reason, then you can always “borrow” one to spend time with, or watch a movie about an animal character. Some of my favorites are Iron Will, Dreamer, White Fang, and The Horse Whisperer.

For more natural health advice for cardiovascular problems, visit

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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