Science

Dogs May Melt Your Heart, but They Also Make It Healthier

Dogs May Melt Your Heart, but They Also Make It Healthier”

The findings emerge from a study of more than 3.4 million people in Sweden whose medical and pet ownership records were analysed to investigate the potential health benefits of dog ownership.

Are you a dog lover?

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.

"In this analysis, single dog owners had a 33% reduction in risk of death generally and 11% reduction in risk of heart disease" compared to single people without dogs.

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

People who live alone have been shown previously to be at a higher risk of cardiovascular death.

A new study out of Sweden used data from 3.4 million people in their national registries between the ages of 40 and 80 and found that those who had a dog had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who were dog-free.

Man's best friend could also be man's best health secret. Multiple studies have found that pets-especially dogs-have a positive impact on obesity, blood pressure and physical activity levels.

That may be especially important for single folks, said study junior author Mwenya Mubanga, a graduate student at Uppsala.

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The study can not explain how dogs have a health-boosting impact, but the company alone may reduce stress and motivate people to live healthier lifestyles.

Dog owners in multi-person households, on the other hand, had an 11 percent lower of death and their chances of a cardiovascular-related death were 15 percent lower. The team was able to correlate dog ownership with health outcomes over the years, including heart risk and mortality.

And how do dogs go about keeping one heart-healthy? After all, a dog must be walked, so dog owners walk more than non-dog owners.

"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease", Tove Fall, a senior author of the study and a professor at Uppsala University, said in a statement. Whereas many studies about the health benefits of a given intervention, be it diet or lifestyle or animal companion, are limited to correlation-meaning, the two things are linked but without proof of one causing the other-Fall is ready to make that jump.

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When it came to breeds, canines originally bred for hunting-like terriers, retrievers and scent hounds-were associated with a lower risk of CVD.

In addition, the researchers were hesitant to assert conclusively that the habits surrounding dog ownership lead to health.

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