dog licks
Representational picture. Pixabay

Owning a dog can help an individual live longer and help in beating cardiovascular diseases, particularly a heart attack and stroke, suggested a new study by Uppsala University professors who examined Swedish residents aged between 40 and 85 from 2001 to 2012.

The study published in journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes said people who suffered a heart attack and lived alone were 33 percent less likely to die after being released from hospital if they owned a dog, and the risk of death for stroke victims was 27 percent lower if they were dog owners.

The study also analyzed data set involving 3.8 million people from 10 different studies and concluded that dog owners were 65 percent less likely to die following a heart attack. The analysis also revealed that dog ownership was associated with a 24 percent lower risk for all-cause mortality as compared to those who did not own a dog.

An Australian study of 5,741 participants in a similar finding said there was an association between pet ownership and lower blood pressure as pet owners had significantly (P=0.03) lower systolic blood pressures than those who did not own a pet, despite their similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profiles.

Essentially, the lower risk of death can be attributed to the increase in physical activity due to regular dog walks and the decrease in loneliness and depression, said both research groups. Moreover, it ends social isolation that is behind premature deaths.

In another finding, tobacco use was more common among dog non-owners than dog owners. Another study on 5,253 Japanese adults revealed that dog owners engaged in significantly more walking and physical activity than non-owners and were 54% more likely to become fit and healthy.

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