Man’s best friend, alright!
A new study published on Tuesday in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, finds that having a dog caused pet owners to live longer.
“Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term,” Mount Sinai endocrinologist Dr. Caroline Kramer wrote, adding that, “Dog ownership was associated with a 24 percent reduction in all cause mortality.”
Kramer, assistant professor at the University of Toronto in the division of endocrinology and metabolism, led a research team who reviewed nearly 70 years of global data before coming up with their conclusion.
Together they analyzed nearly 4 million people in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Scandinavia, and New Zealand.
Originally, the study was to see whether dog ownership was associated with reducing cardiovascular mortality, but the data showed it warded off other causes of death too.
For those with risk of heart attack or stroke, having a dog was even more beneficial — bringing about a “31 percent risk reduction.”
“The recognized health benefits of dog ownership include reduced risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis in children exposed to pets during early ages, improvement in wellbeing and alleviation of social isolation in elderly individuals, and increased physical activity,” Kramer wrote.
Having a dog also related to positive health impacts like “lower blood pressure levels, improved lipid profile, and diminished sympathetic responses to stress,” according to Kramer. “Likewise, additional health benefits of dog companionship, such as positive social-psychological effects, should be taking into consideration as dog ownership can be particularly beneficial for specific populations such as single elderly individuals.”
According to the World Health Organization, heart attacks and stroke are the top two leading causes of death globally.