Study Suggests that Dog Ownership can help prevent Stroke and Heart Disease
A recent study conducted by researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences suggests that owning a dog could lead to a decrease in death risk from stroke or heart attack. The researchers found that out of the 344,272 individuals aged 40-85 in Sweden who had suffered a heart attack or stroke between 2001 and 2012, those who lived alone with a dog had a decreased death risk by 33% after they were hospitalized. Also, those who lived with a dog and a partner or child had a 15% lower risk of death than the rest of the population.
A second study that was conducted by the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto compared data from over 3.8 million individuals across 10 studies to see if owning a dog had any effects on cardiovascular health. They found that dog owners typically have better health outcomes such as a 65% death risk after a heart attack and a 31% lower death risk from other cardiovascular conditions.
The reasons for these results can be attributed to a healthier lifestyle that comes with owning a dog. Researchers believe that dog ownership forces owners to be more active and it helps decrease loneliness as well as negative moods. One of the researchers for the hospital study, Dr. Caroline Kramer, says, "Having a dog was associated with increased physical exercise, lower blood pressure levels, and better cholesterol profile in previous reports."
The results of both studies show positive cardiovascular health effects of dog ownership, but more research needs to be conducted on this topic. Dr. Kramer says, "the next step on this topic would be an interventional study to evaluate cardiovascular outcomes after adopting a dog and the social and psychological benefits of dog ownership."