Is Dog Ownership Connected To Better Health?

The researchers said this could be because dog owners walk more and get more exercise or those who want to own dogs may already lead a healthier lifestyle.

"Whether you're a pet owner or not, keeping active is a great way to help improve your heart health". "In individuals without CVD, dog ownership has been reported as inversely associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes, but other studies found absent or inconclusive associations". "As a pet owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather". Their chances of cardiovascular death fell by 15 percent.

Single people may be able to cut their risk of dying from heart disease relative to their married friends if they get a golden retriever, a new, 12-year study of millions of Swedish people has found.

"It is also interesting that the dog has had an extremely beneficial impact on the lives of single people who are known to die more often than those who have a family, "said one of the chapters of the study group Mwenya of Mubanga". While people who live alone are not necessarily lonely, many in the Swedish study seemed to benefit disproportionately from having a dog around.

She added: "There might also be very important effects of social support you get, from your dog and meeting people through your dog". We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation for the observed results. The estimated 1.1 million lonely Britons are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with good social networks, making loneliness as harmful to the nation's health as diabetes.

33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

While owning a dog may help physical activity, researchers said it may be active people who choose to own dogs.

The study can not explain how dogs have a health-boosting impact, but the company alone may reduce stress and motivate people to live healthier lifestyles.

"Thanks to the population-based design, our results are generalizable to the Swedish population, and probably also to other European populations with similar culture regarding dog ownership".

The effect also varies across different breed groups, according to the study's findings, with owners of larger, more active breeds drawing the most health benefits from their canine pals.

"Dog owners in particular tend to be a little more extroverted, or outgoing" Kay Joubert, Director Companion Animal Services at PAWS, told The Huffington Post. Just over 13 per cent were dog owners.

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  • Regina Walsh