Why owning a dog might help you live longer

Why owning a dog might help you live longer

Owning a dog can provide happiness, comfort, a source of physical activity, and much more.

According to a new study in a Swedish publication, dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

"This could be because if you're the sole pet owner, you get more physical activity, and it could also show that dogs help alleviate stress from loneliness". Specifically, the research found there was a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and an 11 percent reduction in risk of having a heart attack during follow-up compared to people who lived alone who did not have a dog.

"This study in particular, excluded patients with heart disease in general, and we know that disabled people may be less likely to own a dog so that really raises the question if owning a dog lead to heart health or is it merely a marker for people who are more likely to have good heart health", said Dr.

The study tracked more than 3.4 million Swedes, middle-aged and older, for 12 years.

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As if puppy kisses weren't enough reason to adopt a dog, Swedish research links dog ownership to living longer. The dirt and germs that come naturally with a dog might boost its owner's immune system. "Being a single has previously been reported as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and it seems that a dog may be able to neutralize this over-risk", said Tove Fall, veterinarian and lecturer in epidemiology at the Department of Medical science at Uppsala University, in a statement.

Another small study found that people who walked dogs five times a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds over a year, which also helps heart health. Other reasons might involve an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner. In households with more people under the same roof, dogs had less of a positive impact, but still lowered deaths from heart disease by 15%, the work reveals. "More studies should be obtained in the United States", said Bond. "I think that a pet brings a lot of joy and companionship into a house, so if a person has the capacity to take care of it, they certainly should", she says.

Bond commented that owners of hunting breeds may be getting more exercise because these dogs are more active as opposed to small dogs who do not require as much exercise.

"Dog owners in particular tend to be a little more extroverted, or outgoing" Kay Joubert, Director Companion Animal Services at PAWS, told The Huffington Post.