Proud dog people can usually name a list of reasons on why owning a pup makes life better – automatic cuddle buddy, someone to walk with, a personal foot warmer and the list goes on.
Now, these dog owners can add a new reason to the list thanks to a study published Friday, Nov. 17 in Scientific Reports.
Owning a dog may actually be saving their lives, the study based out of Sweden found, as dog ownership is linked to reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
While the study found that dog owners generally have a higher level of activity, it also suggested that increased social well-being and immune system development could also give dog owners a lower risk for cardiovascular death.
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For people who live alone, owning a dog can decrease risk of death by 33 percent, and their chances of a heart attack were 11 percent lower when compared to single individuals without a pet, according to the study.
Dog owners who live in multi-person households also saw benefits. The chances of cardiovascular death were 15 percent lower, the study found.
Owners of hunting breeds, including terriers, retrievers, and scent hounds, were associated with the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease.
The study looked at data of Swedish residents aged 40 to 80 from 2001 to 2012.