Many believe that pet ownership can lead to better health. Researchers set out to test the claim that pet ownership reduces cardiovascular risk.
In 2,528 adults who were 40-44 years of age and 2,551 adults who were 60-64 years of age, pet owners and non-pet owners living in Australia were found to have similar levels of systolic blood pressure, but pet owners had higher diastolic blood pressure, higher body mass index, were more likely to smoke, and undertook slightly more physical activity than non-pet owners.
In this study researchers did not find pet ownership itself to be associated with cardiovascular risk benefits.
Parslow RA, Jorm AF, MJA, November 3, 2003; 179:466-468