Study: Dog at Home Means Longer Life, Better Heart Health
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. "Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health," said Tove Fall, professor at Uppsala University in Sweden.
In the meta-analysis, Researchers reviewed patient data of over 3.8 million people taken from 10 separate studies for a composite meta-analysis study. Researchers found that compared to non-owners, dog owners experienced a 24 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, 65 per cent reduced risk of mortality after heart attack; and 31 per cent reduced risk of mortality due to cardiovascular-related issues.
"Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels and better cholesterol profile in previous reports," said Caroline Kramer, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. The findings of the study and meta-analysis were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association.