Does owning a dog help you live longer? 31 Oct 2019
A new study has discovered that dog owners:
less likely to suffer a heart attack
The protective effect of having a dog is increased if the dog is a hunting dog e.g. a terrier or a retriever.
However it may not be owning a dog itself that helps you live longer but the lifestyle of dog owners. This is because dog owners have to walk the dog so they are more active. During these walks they may bump into other dog walkers and talk so there is increased social contact. In addition the dirt the dog brings into your home changes the dog owners gut microbiome making them less susceptible to a heart attack.
What ever the reason the statistics are impressive. The risk of premature death drops by around 33% and the chances of a heart attack is reduce by 11%, according to researchers who studied the health of 3.4 million swedes of which 13% owned a dog for up to 12 years.
To focus in on the benefits of dog ownership, researchers focused in on single people living alone as this is recognised risk for heart disease.
One potential flaw in the is study is that people who choose to get a dog may already be more active and social and hence less likely to develop heart disease anyway.