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Owning a dog linked to a longer life, study suggests

People who own dogs may live longer and benefit from improved cardiovascular health, new research has found.

According to a study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, dog ownership is suggested to be particularly beneficial to heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone, resulting in a 24% reduction in mortality.

Professors at Uppsala University, examined Swedish residents aged 40 to 85 who experienced a heart attack or stroke between 2001 and 2012. Research found that people who suffered from these health issues and lived alone were 33% less likely to die after being released from the hospital if they owned had a canine companion. 

Meanwhile, for stroke victims who were dog owners, the risk of death was 27% lower.


Tove Fall, professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, said: “We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death. Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people.”

“Single owners have to do all the dog walks and we know that physical activity is important in rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction or stroke,” Fall added, when speaking to CNN.

He also added that more studies are needed in order to act on the findings in a way that supports patients who have suffered from a heart attack or a stroke.

Fall said: “More research is needed to confirm a causal relationship and giving recommendations about prescribing dogs for prevention. Moreover, from an animal welfare perspective, dogs should only be acquired by people who feel they have the capacity and knowledge to give the pet a good life.”

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