Dogs have long been associated with a range of health benefits such as:
- Improving your heart health – dog owners have been found to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Improving your physical health – dog owners are recommended to do 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise.
- Helping you lose weight as a result of moderate exercise.
- Decreasing your stress levels – dogs have been found to help decrease stress hormones in the human body.
- Improve your social life as you meet more people through your dog.
- Decrease depression – dogs provide great companionships which helps to decrease loneliness and depression.
A new study has recently added increased lifespan to that list!
Researchers at Uppsala University, Sweden carried out a 12 year longitudinal study to investigate dog ownership and lifespan. The study analysed 3.2 million Swedes aged 40-80 years old who had no history of illness.
In Sweden, all dogs must be registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture and, consequently, are identifiable with an ear tattoo or ID chip.As a result, researchers at the Uppsalla University were able to easily investigate if dog ownership was associated with a lower risk of death.
The results showed that dog owners had a 20% lower risk of all cause death and a 23% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. These effects were found to be more prominent with certain types of breeds, such as pointers and labradors.
However, this study does not indicate cause and effect, rather that there is an correlation between dog ownership and length of lifespan.
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