Owning A Dog Makes You Live Longer, Says Science

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The findings emerge from a study of more than 3.4 million people in Sweden whose medical and pet ownership records were analysed to investigate the potential health benefits of dog ownership.

"In individuals without CVD, dog ownership has been reported as inversely associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes, but other studies found absent or inconclusive associations". In addition, the single adults with dogs were 36 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. They were also 11% less likely to have a heart attack, an effect that is not shown among people who live with others and is nearly certainly attributable to our children's leftover french fries.

Dog owners have a low risk of developing cardiovascular diseases that further enables them to reduce the risk of mortality, a new research confirmed.

The study, which spanned a 12-year period, involved 3.4 million Swedish people between the ages of 40-80. "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. "We observed, for example, that owners of dogs of different hunting breeds stood out as healthier". "Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner", says Tove Fall, a senior author of the study and associate professor at Uppsala. The investment, though, may be worth it. Dog ownership, new research shows, is a form of natural insurance offering health and longevity, along with the affection of an animal companion.

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The researchers believe that the single dog owners benefit from both walking and interacting with their pet.

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.

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. "In warmer climates, they could keep them in the yard and won't have to actively take them for a walk", said Fall.

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