New Study: Dog owners live longer, healthier lives

  • Posted 6 months Ago

It's not like we need any more reasons for owning a dog, but just in case you did, a new study of 3.4 million people has found that having a dog is linked to living a longer, healthier life.

The report was published in Scientific Reports and used the national registry records of Sweden to focus on men and women aged between 40 and 80, all of whom had no history of cardiovascular disease in 2001. It followed their health records for 12 years, as well as their record of dog ownership (registering your dog is mandatory in Sweden).

It not only found that people who owned dogs had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but also that they also had a lower risk of death from multiple other causes. This remained true even after accounting for factors such as smoking and BMI. The results were especially startling for those who lived alone. This group is normally at risk of early death compared to those who live with other people, but living with a dog showed a 33% reduced risk of death compared to those without a dog.

While this is by far the largest study of this sort, the researchers said the subject still needs to be examined further. It could be that those who chose to own dogs simply had more active, healthier lifestyles to begin with, although senior author Tove Fall added it's very likely that owning a dog prompts a more active life. Dogs have also been proven to lower stress and blood pressure, as well as potentially boosting the owner's immune system and reducing the chances of allergies and asthma in children.

All in all, dogs are just great (regardless of any additional health benefits) and everyone should get one.

Tags: dogs