Dog owners have reduced risk of dying from heart problems, says researcher

Henrietta Brewer
October 12, 2019

While these non-randomised studies can not "prove" that owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this, according to the AHA's scientific statement on pet ownership. The protective effect of canine ownership is especially pronounced in the case of cardiovascular disease. "There's a lot of evidence that people who have dogs walk way more".

Included in the studies is information provided by the American Heart Association media release that associates dog ownership with increased longevity and less feelings of isolation. The participants involved in the study were aged 40 to 85 and experienced a heart attack or ischemic stroke between 2001 and 2012. Stroke survivors living alone had a 27% reduced risk.

"For those people, having a dog was even more beneficial". V. M., professor at Uppsala University in Sweden.


But the Swedish study suggests that the companionship of a dog also contributes to a person's health, said Dr Dhruv Kazi, associate director of the Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston.

In the future, the researchers would like to explore this link even further in order to tease out the causal relationships. In one, a neighborhood of cardiac patients who had been randomly suggested to manufacture a dog or a cat showed a diminished blood stress response to tense scenarios.

In the second study, researchers at the University of Toronto examined the data of more than 3.8 million people covered in 10 previous studies.


People with dogs have a 24% lower risk of death for whatever reason, with a 65% lower risk of death after a heart attack and 31% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

One study discovered that "the act of petting a dog reduces blood pressure as much as medication to treat hypertension", Kramer said. Those types of studies are considered the gold standard of evidence, what you'd need to be able to say definitively that owning a dog causes people to live longer.

"Dog possession", the authors impact, "is associated with lower likelihood of loss of life over the long period of time, which is perchance pushed by a low cost in cardiovascular mortality". Our analyses did not account for confounders such as better fitness or an overall healthier lifestyle that could be associated with dog ownership.


She added, "I can say that adopting Romeo" - her miniature Schnauzer - "has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love". "As a pet owner myself, I can say that adopting Romeo (the author's miniature Schnauzer) has increased my steps and physical activity each day, and he has filled my daily routine with joy and unconditional love".

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