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Want a Longer Life? Get a Dog, Study Says

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33 pc reduction? Your dog is protecting you from this disease

Dr Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation, said: "Owning a dog is associated with reduced mortality and risk of having heart disease".

Among canine owners, those who had terriers, retrievers, and scent hounds had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than owners of other dog breeds But the statistical tie might have more to do with the lifestyles that those kinds of dog owners have, where they live-out in the country, rather than the city, say-and other factors, rather than anything specific to the actual breed of the dog.

The researchers also said that aside from physical activity, owning a dog might also contribute to a person's wellbeing by increasing social contact or possibly changing gut bacteria.

A dog can decrease the risk of death by 33 percent and the risk of cardiovascular-related death by 36 percent for people who live alone versus singles without a pet. While people who live alone are not necessarily lonely, many in the Swedish study seemed to benefit disproportionately from having a dog around. They were also 11% less likely to have a heart attack, an effect that is not shown among people who live with others and is nearly certainly attributable to our children's leftover french fries.

"This study in particular, excluded patients with heart disease in general, and we know that disabled people may be less likely to own a dog so that really raises the question if owning a dog lead to heart health or is it merely a marker for people who are more likely to have good heart health", said Dr.

The findings, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, are based on data from more than 3.4 million Swedes between the ages of 40 and 80.

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"We can not infer a causal relationship, however, dog ownership is associated with increased physical activity, improved psycho-social wellbeing and socialisation, all of which are associated with reduced CVD mortality- so it is plausible the effect is mediated though these mechanisms". Than single people *without* dogs.

Another possible explanation, he adds, could be a dog's effect on its owner's microbiome. Their chances of cardiovascular death fell by 15 percent.

While that might be true, there are enough other benefits to dog ownership to make it worth it. Dog owners are shown to be less depressed and make friends easier, according to a recent study.

Scientists said the companionship was key, along with the physical activity in taking the dog for a walk.

But Fall does not believe that getting more exercise explains all, or even most, of the health effects that come with dog ownership.

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