It’s well known that dogs are man’s best friend and now research shows they are good for our health too.
According to new research by a team of scientists in Sweden, people who own dogs are more likely to live longer.
Studying more than 3.4 million people who didn’t have heart disease over a period of 12 years, the team found out that those with dogs had an amazing 20 per cent lower risk of dying compared to those who didn’t have a pooch.
And if you were a dog owner who lived alone, well, you are one of the lucky ones with a 33 per cent lower risk of death and an eight per cent lower risk of getting cardiovascular diseases.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, focused on cardiovascular disease which is the leading killer in the world.
The research also showed that dog owners are more likely to be physically active and will have lower blood pressure.
People who also owned hunting dogs in particular were found to have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other causes during the 12 year study.
Although the exact reasons behind the results are not clear, the team believe it is due to dog owners being more physically active and less stressed.
Senior study author Tove Fall, an associate professor in epidemiology at Uppsala University, told The Verge:
It could be a very efficient lifestyle intervention to get a dog.
For some people that feel lonely or have problems of keeping a good lifestyle, this could be a good help.
People who live alone may benefit even more because they’re the only ones taking care of the dog, so they’re forced to go take the pooch out for a walk.
Single people might also get a stronger emotional support from their furry friends since they don’t live with a husband or have kids.
I got my first dog when I was single and she was my best friend. She was super important.
Naturally there are limitations to the study, as even though the researchers took into account factors such as income and education, they didn’t exactly know a lot about their study subjects.
For instance, coincidences might be at play and with all the subjects being from Sweden, results may be different in other countries.
Still, since the study looked at such a vast number of people their results are stronger.
This is the perfect excuse to get a pet pup, right?
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.