Dog Owners Live a Longer and Healthier Life According To Study

A woman walks with her dog in the Carrizo Plain National Monument near Taft Calif. in April. AFP  Getty Images

Thanks to mandatory dog ownership registries, the researchers were able to determine if each of the subjects was a pet owner or not, and with years and years of health records at their fingertips, they were able to determine the mortality rates of dog owners vs. those who don't have canine companions.

Dog ownership is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death, finds a new Swedish study published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.

"The responsibilities associated with dog ownership impose mandatory daily exercise - a schedule which can not be impacted by adverse weather conditions, personal commitments or mood swings", Wolf-Klein said. According to the findings, Swedes who owned a four-legged friend were found to have a lower risk of death and decreased chance of cardiovascular disease. All were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study.

Fall said while the link between dog ownership and lower heart heart disease was clear, how dogs helped our hearts was less so.




As a single dog owner, an individual is the sole person walking and interacting with their pet as opposed to married couples or households with children, which may contribute to greater protection from cardiovascular disease and death, said the study.

Those who owned mixed breed dogs had the highest risk of cardiovascular disease out of all dog owners. Study authors believe that this is mainly due to factors that can boost cardiovascular risks such as depression and social isolation. Dog owners also tend to spend more time outdoors and get more physical activity. "Alternatively, it could be reverse causality - people who are fitter and more active are more likely to own a dog".

The study couldn't prove cause and effect, but its lead researcher said there are many reasons having a pooch might do a body good.

"We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation..." They are also studying the gut microbiome of dog owners. Either way, the dogs are probably going to lick you all over.

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