A study published by the American Heart Association says dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause, and living with a dog had an even greater benefit for people with heart problems.
A four-legged friend could lengthen your life
A study published on 8 October by Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, suggests owning a dog is linked with living longer. The meta-analysis reviewed studies published between 1950 and May 2019 that evaluated dog ownership and its association to mortality. The research included 10 studies that yielded data from more than 3 million participants.
Researchers found dog owners were likely to live longer than those who didn’t have dogs: Dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause, according to the study. For people with heart problems, living with a dog had an even greater benefit, authors said.
The potentially life-extending benefits of dog ownership could be traced in part to increased physical activity from walking the dog, authors speculated. The study found dog owners were less likely to die from heart disease compared with non-owners.
Dogs and surviving illness
A separate study of more than 336,000 Swedish men and women, published the same day in "Circulation," also found people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a major cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke.
Heart attacks and stroke are the leading causes of death globally, according to the World Health Organization.
The benefit was highest for dog owners who lived alone. Heart attack survivors living alone who owned dogs had a 33% lower risk of death compared to people who did not own a dog. Stroke survivors living alone had a 27% reduced risk of death.
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