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Pet dogs 'reduce blood pressure'

Wednesday December 4th 2013

A person's blood pressure can be reduced due to the presence of their pet dog, according to new research.

Pet owners aged over 50 with pre- to mild hypertension had lower blood pressure when their dogs were present, the University of Maryland study showed.

Those taking part in the study all lived independently and had mildly elevated blood pressure, with a majority of participants already receiving primary treatment, such as medication, for hypertension.

A pet dog's presence was associated with significantly lower systolic blood pressure, which refers to when the heart muscle is contracting, and diastolic blood pressure, which is when the heart muscle relaxes.

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition provided funding for the study.

Dr Sandra McCune, Waltham's scientific leader for human-animal interaction, said: "We have long been aware of the beneficial effect dogs can have on their owners' blood pressure. This study confirms that the presence of dogs during normal day-to-day life can lower blood pressure in adults with mild hypertension."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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