A new experiment has discovered another benefit of pet ownership. An owner’s heart rate can align with their pup’s, dropping and syncing to match each other and reducing stress.
A new initiative called Hearts Aligned (supported by pet food brand Pedigree), which traces the stories of three Aussie pets and their owners, has uncovered stress reduction and other improvements pets bestow on their owner’s lives.
The initiative followed Glen and his Australian shepherd Lyric and found an impressive positive influence from Lyric on Glen’s life. Lyric helped nurse Glen after a work injury put him through three years of mental health issues including anxiety, depression and stress.
Further research found pet ownership to beneficial in several other areas for owner wellbeing. Pet owner’s commonly exercise more, have higher self-esteem and deal better with social rejection than their non-pet owning counterparts.
“There is decades of research showing how dogs can help their owners stay both physically and emotionally healthy,” said Mia Cobb, canine scientist and the demonstration’s co-conductor. “Hearts Aligned aims to showcase the science behind the special bond we have with our dogs and to celebrate that.”
Studies of the Australian public currently reveal 90 per cent of people need to reduce stress with 74 per cent struggling with work stress. The Hearts Aligned initiative said Dr Craig Duncan, a sports scientist, could perhaps reveal a possible solution to reducing these overwhelming stress levels.
“I look at stress and anxiety and how it affects human performance on a daily basis. I also know personally the incredible toll it can take on your health,” he said. “My own heart attack was brought on by stress and it nearly killed me. The Hearts Aligned project aims to show how pet ownership can help us positively deal with the stressors of daily life.”
Pedigree are also offering a $1 donation to Pet Rescue for every Australian who shares their dog photos using #HeartsAligned until the end of May, with a cap of $20,000.