Several studies have shown that the presence of a dog can reduce blood pressure during a stressful situation. A study done in 2001 demonstrated that for blood pressure to be reduced during a stressor the subjects must be dog owners. The purpose of this experiment was to determine if four, one hour, exposures to a dog is sufficient for reducing blood pressure in non-dog owning subjects. Twenty-three volunteers from an undergraduate psychology class were shown three holocaust photographs, in the presence of a familiar dog, unfamiliar dog, or without a dog. The results of the study found that there was a significant difference in blood pressure rate changes as a function of the slightly familiar dog’s presence. The lower blood pressure was associated with the group that was previously exposed to the dog. These data suggest that non-dog owning subjects can experience lowered blood pressures if they are exposed for a short amount of time to a dog prior to testing.
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