Experts base their conclusions on research, consisting of interviews and a health study of 3.4 million people aged 40 to 80 years residing in Sweden. This was to exclude younger individuals who would naturally be at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease anyway, as well as the elderly who are less likely to own a dog.
This may spell good news for the increasing number of dog owners in Singapore. And if the findings that they improve mental health, decrease stress, and can even help kids avoid developing asthma weren't reason enough to get a pooch, keeping your ticker ticking longer makes it even more compelling.
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"Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households", Mubanga said in the news release. Study authors believe that this is mainly due to factors that can boost cardiovascular risks such as depression and social isolation. All were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study.
Single dog owners usually walk their dog more than those in households with multiple people. "Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts, or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner". "Single dog owners had a 33% reduction in risk of death and 11% reduction in risk of myocardial infarction during follow-up compared to single non-owners", said researcher Mwenya Mubanga in a press release.
"We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results". Dog owners also tend to spend more time outdoors and get more physical activity. There is some inherent quality that a dog has that tears at your heart when it looks at you with puppy eyes and the wagging tail.