Happy Minds. Healthy Hearts.

Did you know your four-legged friend could help boost health and well-being?  Heart disease and stroke are the world’s top killers. Studies show that pets are good for your health. They can help you get more exercise, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, cut stress and boost happiness.

hero_image_alt_text===It's a pug!
thumbnail_alt_text===It's a pug!

We sniffed out the facts:

  • Pets at work may help reduce stress, increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction, teamwork and collaboration.
  • Pets provide social support – an important factor in helping people stick with healthy habits.
  • Dog owners are more likely to reach their fitness goals non-owners. They are 34% more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking per week.
  • Pet owners even tend to live longer than non-pet owners.

With these benefits of pet companionship in mind, the association is launching its new pet initiative with Best Friend Fridays, an effort that encourages companies to open their doors to their employees’ pets. Companies participating in Best Friend Fridays will  designate one or more Friday in June for employees to bring their pets to work, a move the association hopes will increase awareness of the health benefits that come with pet parents taking their furry friends into the office.   “Pet companionship is associated with overall better health and well-being,” said association CEO Nancy Brown. “According to our research, pet companionship may lead to a more active lifestyle, lower blood pressure and reduced stress at home, in the workplace and when managing medical challenges. That’s why the American Heart Association is creating Best Friend Fridays. We’re bringing awareness to the positive impact our four-legged friends have on our hearts and our minds.”

Best Friend Fridays will also  provide support for the association’s efforts to fund life-saving research. Here’s how to get involved:

  • Get your employer’s support – ask your employer to participate in Best Friend Fridays. Employer resources are available here.
  • Donate - Bring your pet to work and give $25, $55 or $505 in honor of your heart’s best friend. Your gift will support important heart research and education (for humans).
  • Get social - When you bring your pet to work on Best Friend Fridays, post a selfie of you and your heart’s best friend to spread the word using #BestFriendFridays.
  • Office not pet-friendly, no problem - If your company does not allow pets at work yet, find a park where you and your pet can meet up with other pet parents in your company! It could be a whole new way to make new friends with your best friend.

“Many studies have explored the relationship between pet ownership and cardiovascular disease and reported a number of beneficial effects,” said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, who is professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, director of the Cardiac Care Unit at the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center and author of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on pet ownership.

“The American Heart Association reviewed available data and found that pet ownership may lead to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease,” he said. “Though additional research is clearly needed on this important topic, pet owners may have another reason to brag about their furry friends – the possibility of our pets contributing to happy minds and healthy hearts.”

It’s a win-wag combination for health and happiness.   Ready to help lick heart disease? Visit BestFriendFridays.heart.org.



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