Having a dog can bring a lot of love into your life. Specifically, single people were able to reduce their risk of death from heart disease by 33 percent; all dog owners overall had a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular by 20 percent compared to dogless humans. "As a pet owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather".
"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease".
They are. But a new study out of Sweden shows that not only do dogs add joy to our lives, they also add years to it.
A single dog owner is likely the only person who regularly walks and interacts with her pet, which could contribute to these individuals' reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death, according to the study.
We've got good news if you want a puppy for Christmas, but your partner just isn't that into the idea. That would be a tough study to pull off since you would have to take a random set of people, give some of them dogs, and see who died first.
The protective effect was especially prominent for people living alone, who have been found to have a higher risk for early death than those who live with other people. It's possible that people who choose to own dogs may simply be more active and in better health to begin with, say the authors. Prior research has shown that living alone raises the risk for heart disease.
Although this particular study does not parse the mechanisms of how dogs help reduce the risk of heart disease, others have tried.
Senior study author Tove Fall, associate professor at Uppsala University, said: "We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results". We've known for a while that you live longer when you live with someone else, but the added benefit of having a dog is that they need to get outside and go for walks, which forces us to get up and take them no matter how exhausted we are or what the weather is like. 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.
In addition, the researchers were hesitant to assert conclusively that the habits surrounding dog ownership lead to health.
When it came to breeds, canines originally bred for hunting-like terriers, retrievers and scent hounds-were associated with a lower risk of CVD.
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