18 November, 2017
Owning a dog could be linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in single-person households and lower all-cause mortality in the general population, a 12-year study of Swedish canine owners suggests.
The study also says that having a dog increases people's motivation to be more active and add more physical activity into their lives, especially in single-person households where the individuals are exclusively responsible for walking and exercising with their pets.
"It is also interesting that the dog has had an extremely beneficial impact on the lives of single people who are known to die more often than those who have a family, "said one of the chapters of the study group Mwenya of Mubanga". Little Fido also gives you some much-needed social interaction if you live alone.
"Dog ownership is especially prominent as a protective factor for people living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household".
The study authors were also surprised to find that people who owned dogs that were originally bred for hunting-like terriers, retrievers and scent hounds-were the most protected from heart disease and death.More news: Dream Chaser completes successful glide test
Fall and co-authors drew from a nation-wide register of more than 3.4 million Swedish adults between 40 and 80 years old for their trial.
It's not clear exactly how the dogs helped avert heart disease, or whether getting one directly led to better health, cautioned Tove Fall, the senior author of the paper and associate professor in epidemiology at Uppsala University. While owning a mixed-breed dog was correlated with a higher risk of CVD, ownership of a purebred pooch was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Here's what else they found and details on how they conducted their study.
While the research was carried out in Sweden, Fall does believe it may also apply to other countries, including the USA, since popular breeds and people's attitudes toward dog care are similar.
Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have posited the theory that this is due to the fact that dogs have the ability to change their owner's bacterial microbiome by exposing them to bacteria they had not yet encountered. "Thanks to the population-based design, our results are generalizable to the Swedish population, and probably also to other European populations with similar culture regarding dog ownership", Fall concluded in the statement.