Dog owners have a low risk of developing cardiovascular diseases that further enables them to reduce the risk of mortality, a new research confirmed.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, states that dog owners in general had a higher level of physical activity, which could be counted as the one reason to prevent heart diseases. Other reasons might involve an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner.
"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. Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households," said Mwenya Mubanga, researcher at the Uppsala University in Sweden.
"The results showed that single dog owners had a 33 per cent reduction in risk of death and 11 per cent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease during follow-up compared to single non-owners. Another interesting finding was that owners to dogs from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected," Mubanga added.
The research team reviewed more than 3.4 million dog owners, aged between 40 to 80 years, over a period of 12 years, in order to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health.
A total of more than 3.4 million individuals without any prior cardiovascular disease in 2001 were included in the researchers' study.
Their study shows that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.