A New Scientific Study Shows Owning A Dog Can Help You Live Longer

One more reason to pal around with our favorite pups? We'll take it!


Anyone who owns a dog already knows they make our lives better, but now, science shows they can actually make us live longer as well. (One more reason to spend even more time palling around with our favorite pups? We'll take it!)  

In a recent study published in Scientific Reports, researchers looked at data from more than three million people and found that owning a dog reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 11 percent and death from any cause by 15 percent. According to the study, CVD is the "leading cause of death worldwide," accounting for 45 percent of all deaths (greater than four million) in Europe in 2016. 

The study further explains that dogs can help their humans combat this disease and others by "providing a non-human form of social support and increasing physical activity." 

These effects had an especially powerful impact on dog owners who lived alone. "Dog ownership has been reported to be associated with alleviation of social isolation and improved perception of well-being, particularly in single persons and the elderly," it was stated in the study. Of those who lived alone, 36 percent were less likely to develop heart disease, and 33 percent were less likely to die than people who lived alone without a dog. Additionally, they were 11 percent less likely to have a heart attack, an effect that is not shown among people who live with others (though science has previously proven that living with someone else does help you live longer). 

After analyzing 11 observational studies, researchers found that, regardless of their living situations, dog owners generally walked more and were more physically active than non-owners. Two studies assessing changes in physical activity after getting a dog or other pet found increased self-reported recreational walking, and another recent study showed that dog ownership also supports the maintenance of physical activity during bad weather. After all, you may not want to go the gym when it's raining, but Rover still needs a walk around the block to get his business done. 

The researchers also found the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease was among owners of hunting breeds, which makes sense considering the veritable HIIT workout their owners get when a hunting dog's nose is hot on the trail.  

And while the results of a single study certainly don't constitute a causal relationship between dog ownership and longevity, it does provide us with even more evidence explaining why dogs truly are man and woman's best friends. 

Now, let's all go out and adopt a furry friend!  

(H/T: Scary Mommy)

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