Two recently published studies strongly suggest that owning a dog improves the odds of living longer.
The first study was a review and meta-analysis of ten studies over 70 years (1950 to 2019), involving nearly 4 million people in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. This review showed that owning a dog was associated with a 24% reduction in mortality from all causes. For people who had already had a heart attack or stroke, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was reduced by 31%.
The second study, in Sweden, involving people of ages 40-85 who had heart attacks or ischemic strokes between 2001-2012. The study involved 182,000 people who had a heart attack (almost 6% were dog owners), and 155,000 people who had an ischemic stroke (almost 5% were dog owners). Compared to patients who did not own a dog:
- For dog owners, the risk of death for heart attack patients living alone after hospitalization was 33% lower, and was 15% lower for those living with a partner or child.
- For dog owners, the risk of death for stroke patients living alone after hospitalization was 27% lower and 12% lower for those living with a partner or child.
The media articles below discuss both research publications:
Owning a dog tied to lowering your risk of dying early by 24%, says science
Dog ownership associated with longer life, especially among heart attack and stroke survivors
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