The heart-health benefits of being a dog parent were especially pronounced among people living alone (in this case, meaning without other humans), which, according to the study's authors, is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living with other people.
"There are major differences between people who choose to get dogs and people who don't", said Dr Bradshaw. "The results showed that single dog owners had a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease during follow-up compared to single non-owners".
Owners of hunting breeds, including terriers, retrievers, and scent hounds, were most protected from cardiovascular disease and death.More news: David Moyes named new manager: West Ham fans in complete meltdown
For the study, Mubanga and team used data from the Sweden's Register of the Total Population to evaluate the heart health of more than 3.4 million Swedes between 40 and 80 years old over 12 years (from 2001 to 2013). And it seems to be about more than just the added exercise you get from walking a dog. The estimated 1.1 million lonely Britons are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with good social networks, making loneliness as harmful to the nation's health as diabetes. "As a pet owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather". "Thanks to the population-based design, our results are generalizable to the Swedish population, and probably also to other European populations with similar culture regarding dog ownership", Fall concluded in the statement.
The effect also varies across different breed groups, according to the study's findings, with owners of larger, more active breeds drawing the most health benefits from their canine pals. As a result, the researchers posit, dog owners went out more and had added more social interaction than those without dogs. Studies have also suggested that dog owners have lower reactivity to stress and faster recovery of blood pressure following stressful events. "I think that a pet brings a lot of joy and companionship into a house, so if a person has the capacity to take care of it, they certainly should", she says. "More studies should be obtained in the United States", said Bond.