Owning a dog can help you live longer, new study reveals

It's likely that the health benefits of dog ownership have to do with the amount of exercise needed to keep the furry friends healthy- studies show dog owners can get 30 minutes more exercise a day than people who don't own dogs. Just who is res

It's likely that the health benefits of dog ownership have to do with the amount of exercise needed to keep the furry friends healthy- studies show dog owners can get 30 minutes more exercise a day than people who don't own dogs. Just who is res

Man's best friend has always been praised for the ability to help mental wellbeing, reducing anxiety and loneliness, but less has been reported about how they might have a positive effect on physical health. "As such, the findings that people who owned dogs lived longer and their risk for cardiovascular death was also lower are somewhat expected". Compared to people who did not own a dog, researchers found that dog owners had a 33 percent lower risk of death after being hospitalised a heart attack if they lived alone, and a 15 percent lower risk if they lived with a partner or child.

In a study of dog-owning and non-dog owning survivors of heart attacks or strokes, researchers determined that dog owners across the board experienced lower rates of death from heart attacks or strokes.

The reason could be due to an increase in physical activity and decrease in depression and loneliness among dog owners, which previous studies have confirmed.

"Single owners have to do all the dog walks and we know that physical activity is important in rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction or stroke", Fall added. Patients studied were Swedish residents ages 40-85 who experienced heart attack or ischemic stroke from 2001-2012.

The review of the health benefits of man's best friend analyzed research involving almost 4 million people in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

In the study, nearly 182,000 people were recorded to have had a heart attack, with almost 6% being dog owners, and nearly 155,000 people were recorded to have had an ischemic stroke, with almost 5% being dog owners. Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people.

Owning a dog has been linked to a longer life and a lower chance of dying of a heart problem, according to a pair of studies.

In the press release, Tove Fall, a professor at Uppsala University and one of the researchers on the first study, pointed to social isolation as a "strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death".

Those who had suffered cardiovascular-related issues were also 31 per cent less likely to pass away. However, more research is needed to confirm a causal relationship and giving recommendations about prescribing dogs for prevention.

"We've known this forever, that pets make our lives better, but to know that the sum of it translates to better cardiovascular health is very exciting for those of us who like dogs and work in cardiology", Kazi said in a phone interview. Caroline Kramer, the lead author of the review of more than 60 years of global research.

"Given the magnitude of the potential benefit - and likely little or no harm - these findings should encourage clinicians to discuss pet adoption with their patients, particularly those with preexisting cardiovascular disease and those living by themselves", Dr. Dhruv S. Kazi of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston writes in an editorial accompanying the study. "As a pet owner myself, I can say that adopting Romeo (the author's miniature Schnauzer) has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love".