Dogs can make an excellent pet. After all, their loyalty and companionship are one of the greatest things about owning them. Still, a new study coming out of Sweden indicates that having a dog can also help decrease the chances of heart disease and death for their owners. Which means your dog helping to save your life … literally.
As per the study, CNN revealed that those who live alone, a dog can decrease chances of death by 33 percent and the risk of heart disease linked to death by 36 percent when compared to those who are single without a dog. Risks around heart attack also decrease by 11 percent for dog owners.
Those households with multi-people living within also saw health benefits to dog ownership, except on a lesser scale; with a decrease in 11 percent when it came to risk of death and a decrease of 15 percent when it came to heart disease death. There was a zero decrease when it came to owning a dog and the chances around a heart attack.
And it may make a lot of sense when you really think about it. Single owners bear the sole responsibility of interacting and walking the dog, versus married households or those with children who may share in these activities.
The research reviewed well over three million individuals living in Sweden and ages ranged from 40 to 80 years old. The numbers were gathered via the Swedish Twin Register and national database over a time period of 12 years.
Senior Author of the study, Tove Fall, noted that one major explanation around all this is the fact that dog owners, overall, have higher levels of physical activity, which includes daily dog walks regardless of weather.
The study also suggested that an increase in immune system development as well as social well-being are other reasons why dog owners are protected against heart disease and death. This could be due to the fact that dogs trudge in dirt and lick their owners, which could positively impact an individual’s microbiome (bacteria in the stomach), thus benefiting one’s health. In addition, positive social situations help to decrease stress, which also happens to be the main issue around heart attacks and heart disease.
It’s important to note, the research occurred in Sweden, but Fall believes the results can relate to some other countries around the world, as dog owners have similar views when it comes to care and responsibility of their doggy pets.
Still, it’s important to note that some elements that can affect results include socio-economic backgrounds and climate.
Hug your dog extra tight tonight. They are keeping you healthy on so many different levels. Man’s best friend, indeed.