Study Finds Owning a Dog Can Help People Live Longer – 10 Facts

In the US, the leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease – with more than 800,000 deaths reported in 2016 alone.

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But, did you know that you can reduce your risk of suffering from this health condition by simply owning a dog?

Several studies indicate that dog ownership could reduce mortality! 

These make the canines a more special companion. Reviews and studies suggest they could extend a person’s lifespan by up to twenty-four percent.

However, some might be having uncertainties about this. If that’s your case, let these ten important facts convince you further and a few professionals’ studies!

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Swedish Study 

Professors at Uppsala University found out that residents in Sweden (aged 40 to 85) with dogs as a companion can lessen their chances of suffering a heart attack by 33% and cut down the risk of death by 27% due to stroke.

There was also a significant reduction in death risk for pet owners living with a child or partner after a stroke (12%) or heart attack (15%) than those without dogs.  

American Heart Association  

This systematic review is a separate meta-analysis (related to the Swedish study) led by Dr. Caroline Kramer – an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The research involves nearly four million people in New Zealand, Scandinavia, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Canada.

According to the findings, individuals who own a dog can reduce death by up to 24%.

Those with previous strokes or heart attacks have at least a 31% likelihood of lowering premature death risk. In comparison, there is a 65% reduced risk of mortality for heart attack patients after leaving the hospital. 

The data used was from the Swedish National Patient Register, the Swedish Board of Agriculture dog registers, and the Swedish Kennel Club.

The study includes over 300,000 Swedish non-owners and pet owners who had a previous stroke or heart attack from 2001-2012.  

CNN 

Backing up the Uppsala University study, CNN reported that owning a dog could reduce human’s risk of cardiovascular associated death by 33% and their risk of death by 31%.

Heart attacks are also considered to decrease by 11%.

Fur parents of hunting breeds, like scent hounds, terriers, and retrievers, are most guarded against death and disease due to cardiovascular illness.  

Several other studies also share the same finding – having a dog as part of your family can offer health benefits compared to non-owners.

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It will make you healthier and, most importantly, prolong your lifespan.  

How Can Dogs Improve Your Health? 

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You’re now familiar with the healthy relationship between a human and a dog.

In what manner could they help you become healthier, though? Here are the top 10 facts you should know! 

1. Minimize Stress and Anxiety  

Stress and anxiety are a very common mental illness – targeting both men and women no matter what the age group is.

They could affect our lives at a certain point. The symptoms range from headaches and skin rashes to chest pain.

One proven way to reduce the impact of chronic stress and manage symptoms is your Fido.

A simple physical activity with him could lower down the levels of tension like walking or running.

This eventually results in a hoisted and strengthened mood as well as improved self-esteem and sleep.  

2. Relieve Depression  

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Your pet’s warm touch has therapeutic effects that may aid in alleviating depression.

Hugging, stroking, or touching him can quickly comfort and calm you when you feel anxious or depressed.

Caring for a puppy will make you feel wanted and needed, plus all your worries or problems will be taken away once you see him roaming around and greeting you.

People living alone have higher chances of getting depressed. A live animal will never be going to make you feel alone.

Surely, nothing beats coming home only to be welcomed by a wagging tail.  

3. Prevent Allergies  

Pet dander could cause allergies for some, especially for kiddos.

Most people don’t know that dogs can prevent allergy illnesses, eczema, and hay fever and intensely improve immunity among children.

Medical professionals state that you may only develop fewer allergies if you have more pets in the household.

This is why individuals who grew up around animals or on the farm have no reported allergies.

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Well, besides reducing the chance of becoming allergic, you are also allowing your child to build some essential traits (e.g., empathy and compassion) he would need in the future.

So, it’s a good idea to adopt a few pups while he’s still young.

4. Lower Cholesterol

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Those daily walks with your puppy are responsible for keeping your cholesterol in check.

There’s also a survey conducted by the Australian National Heart Foundation – stating the individuals who own pets (men specifically) are likely to have lower triglyceride levels and cholesterol.

Your outdoor adventure should not be restricted to just roaming around your neighborhood.

You can also try participating in a fun run or a local fundraising walk with your family. 

5. Lower Blood Pressure 

A simple stroke to your pet will make you feel good.

It can reduce your blood pressure, besides cutting down on stress hormone levels and helping the body dispense an easing hormone.

The Buffalo State University of New York shows that people who took medicine for hypertension could lower the response of blood pressure to stress than those who do not own a dog or cat.

High-risk and hypertensive patients may also benefit from these living creatures. 

6. Healthier Heart 

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Our heart is considered the most important body organ, so proper care and maintenance must be ensured to achieve a lengthier, healthier, and happier life.

We all want that, yes? Your furry friend will help you! The American Heart Association states that dogs can save your heart, thanks to the physical activities you can share.

They also support a healthy heart by being an affectionate and faithful companion.

Moreover, a Chinese study conducted in 2017 discovered a strong connection between the lowered risk of coronary artery condition and pet ownership.

Heart attack patients have a good chance of living longer as well. 

7. Fight Injury & Disease  

Your pet might one day save your life, mainly because some dogs can alert people to major health problems, including cancer.

For instance, some stories of pet owners were able to detect a certain condition as their dogs kept on licking or snuffling a lump or mole in their bodies.

That’s why some dogs are continuously being trained in the field to track down prostate cancer, kidney bladder, and many other health illnesses with their extraordinary sense of smell. 

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8. Boost Fitness  

 Dogs help you build healthy routines and habits by promoting physical activities and exercises.

Have regular walks with your poochie to improve bone health, lung capacity, muscle tone, and flexibility.

A thirty-minute walk is recommended to exploit the most physical benefit both for you and your pet.

Otherwise, two 15-minute brisk walks are ideal. Find other outdoor activities that your dog will also enjoy, such as hearty walks in the park, hill hiking, or a simple scavenger chases around your property. 

9. Improve Physical Health 

 The Saint Louis University, along with Miami University, led some experiments on the benefits associated with owning a dog.

The result shows that fur parents had better-quality welfare in numerous areas, including less fearful and isolated, better self-confidence, more physically fit, and more extroverted.

Even those with ADD and ADHD could improve their overall health too.

A particular study done by a university states that dog possession can encourage a more active lifestyle – reducing the growing case of obesity among children. 

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10. Improve Relationships  

Even your social life is completely heightened! You’ll never feel alone or detached from the crowd with your furry friend on your side as he will help you make new friends and turn them into real companions.

A study issued in the British Journal of Health Psychology designated that dogs facilitate social contact development.

This could improve both the psychological and physiological health of a person.

More people out there share the same interest and passion for taking care of a dog.

You can initiate a conversation with them. Building a social connection is very important to your well-being; thus, promoting a balanced and healthier life. 

Getting to the bottom line, owning a dog offers several benefits for people regardless of their gender and health condition.

The new research may easily entice you to adopt a pup, but you must consider a few important factors if becoming a dog owner fits you.

Do not own one if your sole purpose is to reduce cardiovascular disease or extend how long you can live.

It won’t work that way. Remember that owning a cute little pup also takes effort, care, and pure love. This is where the ‘magic’ lies.

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