Numerous studies have shown links between pet ownership and health benefits for humans. From reduced blood pressure and lower anxiety levels to a decrease in asthma related problems in youngsters raised from infancy in homes with pets, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Now, according to recent research conducted in Sweden using a base of 3.4 million people, there is more scientific proof that owning a dog can lengthen your life.
Health Benefits of Dog Ownership
Scientists at at Uppsala University in Sweden looked at national registry records of adults between the ages of 40 and 80 among the country's population. The focus was on people with a zero history of cardiovascular disease from as far back as 2001. In addition to their health records, they noted whether they were dog owners.
Swedish Dog Ownership Registry
You see, in Sweden they keep a database of dog ownership, which is mandatory there. The country also has a database recording every hospital visit its citizens make. Between these two resources it was relatively easy for the researchers to correlate the information on the group over a 12 year period. What they found was surprising.
Longer Lives, Less Disease
The study findings pointed to the fact dog owners had lower risks for death from cardiovascular disease and other causes than citizens who were not identified as dog owners. The also findings held true even after adjustments were made for such factors as body mass index, smoking and socioeconomic status.
Not surprisingly, the information they gathered pointed to an increased "protective effect" for singles, who commonly have a reduced life span as compared to their cohabitating counterparts. We are social creatures, and living alone, it seems, is not healthy for us. Dog owners who live solo were reported to have a reduced risk factor for death of 33 percent and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease of 11 percent as opposed to individuals without a dog.
So, if you needed an excuse for getting a dog, you just found it.
Source: Scientific Reports