If you want to live longer, get a dog, as these furry friends are good not only for your mental health, but also for your physical health. A study which looked at 3.4 million Swedish people discovered a correlation between dog ownership and lower health risks. Those people who had dogs had smaller chances to die from cardiovascular diseases or other health-related causes.
Dog ownership and a lower risk of death
For this study, researchers looked at data on different health conditions among people aged between 40 and 80. Then, they compared these results with reports on dog ownership, and found an interesting correlation. Those people who had a dog were at a smaller risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease. The biggest risk drop was associated with hunting breeds.
This smaller risk is given by the fact that dog ownership is prevalent among people who are physically active. Also, a dog might make people feel better about themselves, and might make them more active from a social point of view.
Dogs benefit those who live alone
In the end, these pets might also cause benefic changes in a person’s bacterial microbiome. Dogs are believed to change the dust and dirt that gathers in our home. This way, people get exposed to fewer kinds of harmful bacteria.
However, those who benefit the most from dog ownership are those people who live alone. The study showed a reduction of 11 percent in their risk of suffering a heart attack, as well as a 33 percent reduction in the general risk of death. Usually, these people face more risks than those who don’t live alone. Having a dog might help them, as it might stand for a family member.
Hunting breeds were associated with the smallest cardiovascular risks. Among these breeds, the most popular among people are retrievers, terriers, or scent hounds. The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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