Could owning a dog help you live longer?

November 21st, 2017
Could owning a dog help you live longer?

They say that dogs are man’s best friend, but a new survey has suggested that our furry friends are far from just companions. Researchers in Sweden claim that having a pet dog may actually help us live longer.

According to a study based on data from 3.4 million people in Sweden, dog owners are less likely to die prematurely than people who don’t have a pet pooch. Researchers analysed data from national registries and dog ownership records, which contained information about people aged between 40 and 80 years old. The team from Uppsala University found that those who owned dogs were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and other causes. There was a particularly strong correlation between lower death rates and the owners of hunting breeds.

Researchers believe that physical activity plays a key role. People who own a dog are likely to exercise more and consequently, they are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. There’s also a belief that active people are more likely to be dog owners than those who prefer to live a more sedentary lifestyle, as most breeds require a lot of exercise.

Researchers also claim that owning a dog can boost health by providing companionship, reducing the risk of loneliness and altering the bacterial makeup in the gut, which is known as the microbiome. It is thought that people who have dogs are introduced to new forms of bacteria they wouldn’t normally encounter.

Lead author, Mwenya Mubanga, explained that the results of the study indicate that people who own dogs had a 33% reduction in the risk of death and an 11 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease risk compared to those who don’t have a pet dog.

The findings of the study have been published in Scientific Reports.

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