Owning a dog linked to longer life, scientists claim

It's likely that the health benefits of dog ownership have to do with the amount of exercise needed to keep the furry friends healthy- studies show dog owners can get 30 minutes more exercise a day than people who don't own dogs. Just who is res

A separate study of more than 336,000 Swedish men and women, also published Tuesday in "Circulation", likewise found people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a major cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke.

Researchers found that dog ownership was associated with a 31 per cent risk reduction of death due to cardiovascular-related issues.

In a study of dog-owning and non-dog owning survivors of heart attacks or strokes, researchers determined that dog owners across the board experienced lower rates of death from heart attacks or strokes.

In 2017, Fall published a paper in the journal Scientific Reports similarly linking pet dogs to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a lower overall risk of death.

The lower risk of death associated with dog ownership could be explained by an increase in physical activity and the decreased depression and loneliness, both of which have been connected to dog ownership in previous studies.

The meta-analysis found an even bigger benefit for people who had already had a heart attack or stroke.

The review of the health benefits of man's best friend analyzed research involving almost 4 million people in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

"For those people, having a dog was even more beneficial", said Dr.

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Previous research has found that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels and less stress, Kramer and her colleagues said in background notes.

Fall, a veterinarian and professor of Molecular Epidemiology at Sweden's Uppsala University, commented in a statement: "We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death".

"Moreover, from an animal welfare perspective, dogs should only be acquired by people who feel they have the capacity and knowledge to give the pet a good life", he added. Caroline Kramer, lead author of a new systematic review of almost 70 years of global research published Tuesday in "Circulation", a journal of the American Heart Association.

Studies deemed eligible for analysis included those conducted among adults age 18 or older, original data from an original prospective study, evaluated dog ownership at the beginning of the study and reported all-cause or cardiovascular mortality of patients.

Overall, dog owners were 24% less likely to die over the next decade than non-dog owners.

"Given the magnitude of the potential benefit - and likely little or no harm - these findings should encourage clinicians to discuss pet adoption with their patients, particularly those with preexisting cardiovascular disease and those living by themselves", Dr. Dhruv S. Kazi of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston writes in an editorial accompanying the study.

Dr Kramer said: "Our findings suggest that having a dog is associated with longer life". The results, however, were very positive.

Having a dog to care for not only increases physical activity, it reduces social isolation, which could help heart attack and stroke survivors in their recoveries, experts said.

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