Study says dog owners live longer, healthier lives

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

Among canine owners, those who had terriers, retrievers, and scent hounds had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than owners of other dog breeds But the statistical tie might have more to do with the lifestyles that those kinds of dog owners have, where they live-out in the country, rather than the city, say-and other factors, rather than anything specific to the actual breed of the dog. Meta-analyses have confirmed dog owners are more active-especially in poor weather-than non-owners, and the animals can act as social supports, improving an owner's perception of their well-being. The dataset was linked to dog ownership registers, which later revealed dog owners had a different risk of cardiovascular disease and death than people who didn't own a pet dog. Owning a dog might be helping people live longer and lead healthier lives, a new study finds. So, is owning a dog connected to better health? "The results showed that single dog owners had a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease during follow-up compared to single non-owners".

Multi-person household owners also saw benefits, though to a lesser extent.

A group of Swedish scientists conducted research and used national registries from more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 in order to discover whether there is a connection between dog ownership and cardiovascular health.

By evaluating health records, it found that registered dog owners had a lower risk of having heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions.

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

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.

While Bond may not prescribe a dog as treatment for a patient, she said that she will not discourage owning or buying one, or expressing the benefits of owning one.

Fall also adds that there may be slight differences between dog owners and non-owners well before any of the two groups were exposed to dogs, which could have influenced the results.

The researchers stressed that while these types of studies show a relationship between the environmental factor and diseases in a large population, they do not provide answers to if and how dogs actually protect from heart disease and premature death. (Might not get that one past the institutional review board.) But in the meantime, we'll take this association as further proof that dogs are the best and that's the end of the story.

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