Dogs May Lower Your Heart Disease Risk

Posted November 21, 2017

"The findings of the largest-ever investigation of the association between dog-ownership and human health should encourage all of us to add a four-legged friend in our family circle", she said. Those in multi-person households also had a lower risk of mortality if they owned a dog, and hunting breed dogs specifically helped to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers looked at 3.4 million Swedes aged 40-80 who went to hospital and who didn't have any previous heart disease.

People living alone have been reported to be more at risk of cardiovascular disease or death, Mubanga said.

Past studies have suggested that dog (and cat) owners are happier overall, and some of the data has pointed to longer life, but none of the research was even close to definitive. This was to exclude younger individuals who would naturally be at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease anyway, as well as the elderly who are less likely to own a dog.

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Those who owned mixed breed dogs had the highest risk of cardiovascular disease out of all dog owners.

In an interview with MedicalResearch.com, Dr. Fall, who is associate senior lecturer of epidemiology in the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University in Sweden, noted that "loneliness and sedentary lifestyle are two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality, but are notoriously hard to prevent in the general population".

And while it's important to note the results aren't causal (no one with a heart condition was included in this study, for example), it's the latest in a pretty tall stack of studies about the benefits of owning a dog.

Mental health has previously been shown to have a link to heart health, and previous studies have shown a link between loneliness and poor heart health.

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According to doctors, dogs are able to increase life expectancy. However, owning any dog will reduce an owners risk of death, just to different extents, said Tove Fall, senior author of the study and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Uppsala University.

While the research was carried out in Sweden, Fall does believe it may also apply to other countries, including the US, since popular breeds and people's attitudes toward dog care are similar.

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.

"There might also be differences between owners and non-owners already before buying a dog, which could have influenced our results, such as those people choosing to get a dog tending to be more active and of better health".

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It's because they're the best god damn pets in the world.