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Adopting a dog could lengthen your life, study says

Adopting a dog could lengthen your life, study says

While the study didn't look at why dogs are good for people's health and longevity, researchers suggested reasons ranging from increased physical activity, social contact and reduced stress and even a boost microbiome diversitythat essential for good health. "It's not so easy to combine dogs with an active work life and they aren't always allowed in places, so the study could help us to understand that dogs are really important for their owners, and for example be more understanding if someone's dog passes away".

"In this analysis, single dog owners had a 33% reduction in risk of death generally and 11% reduction in risk of heart disease" compared to single people without dogs.

Fall also adds that there may be slight differences between dog owners and non-owners well before any of the two groups were exposed to dogs, which could have influenced the results.

For the study, Mubanga and team used data from the Sweden's Register of the Total Population to evaluate the heart health of more than 3.4 million Swedes between 40 and 80 years old over 12 years (from 2001 to 2013).

Everything from registering a dog to visiting a hospital requires presentation of a unique identification number in Sweden, so the team from Uppsala University were able to access an anonymised set of data from national registries. Multiple studies have found that pets-especially dogs-have a positive impact on obesity, blood pressure and physical activity levels.

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People who live alone have been shown previously to be at a higher risk of cardiovascular death.

Wolf-Klein believes that whatever the reasons behind the health benefit shown in the study, adopting a furry companion from a nearby shelter might be just what the doctor ordered. After all, a dog must be walked, so dog owners walk more than non-dog owners.

While Bond may not prescribe a dog as treatment for a patient, she said that she will not discourage owning or buying one, or expressing the benefits of owning one.

Owning a dog from breeds originally bred for hunting, such as terriers, retrievers and scent hounds, was associated with the lowest risk of cardiovascular disorder. "More studies should be obtained in the United States", said Bond.

While the research was carried out in Sweden, Fall does believe it may also apply to other countries, including the US, since popular breeds and people's attitudes toward dog care are similar. "I think that a pet brings a lot of joy and companionship into a house, so if a person has the capacity to take care of it, they certainly should", she says.

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