As if we needed any more proof for the importance of dogs in our lives, a recent study, published in the American Heart Association Circulation Journal suggests that owning a canine companion boosts longevity. This conclusion is based on no less than 70 years of observation and analysis. The researchers looked at studies published from 1950 to May 2019 that evaluated dog ownership and its association with mortality. The research included 10 studies that yielded data from more than 3 million participants.
According to the study, dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause. Moreover, people who suffered a heart attack and lived alone were 33 per less likely to die after being released from the hospital if they owned a dog. So what is it exactly about owning a furry friend that makes us live longer? One possibility the study pointed out is the increased physical exercise associated with dog ownership. The presence of a dog encourages us to go on morning and night walks, and sometimes even jog, which is an even more significant benefit for those with heart health conditions.
The fact these activities take place in the outdoors, thus exposing dog owners to sunlight and fresh air more frequently, is beneficial for mental health as well. Another aspect that has an impact on the psyche is the affection between the dog and the owner. By simply giving our pups loving pets, we lower our blood pressure in equivalency to some medicines. Dog owning was also proved to decrease loneliness, increase self-esteem, and lower rates of depression. "Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people,” said Tove Fell, professor at Uppsala University in Sweden in a statement to the Independent.
It should be noted that if you or a loved one is suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, adopting a dog cannot be a substitute for getting professional help. “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," said Fell.
If you are able to take care of a dog, it can really ignite a spark in your life and, as it turns out, even help you live longer.
If you found this article interesting, share it with friends and family