Dog Ownership – There surely are more reasons than we know why dogs are known as man’s best friends.
Dogs seem to be the only pets who shows inexplicable loyalty to its owners.
Buttressing the generally known fact, Scientists in a recent research discovered that dog ownership may actually increase your life span.
According to the report
“Dogs may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity.”
A group of researchers studied the possible link between dog ownership and cardiovascular diseases(CVD). The study found that the tendency of death from CVD is slim for dog owners compared to people who do not have one.
It also discovered that the longevity impact is felt the most when the owner lives alone with the dog.
With about 12 years of follow up, the research studied over 3 million people in Sweden, to arrive at their conclusion. Dog owners walked more and were more physically active than non-owners.
There are 2 sides to the impact of dog ownership to CVD. The research cited thus;
“Previous findings on dog ownership and the risk of CVD are conflicting. In individuals without CVD, dog ownership has been reported as inversely associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes, but other studies found absent or inconclusive associations. In patients with coronary artery disease, dog ownership is reportedly associated with improved survival.”
Some have also added that dog owners may just be healthier in the first place.
Professor Tove Fall, a veterinarian who co-authored the research is of the pinion that dogs can likely motivate physical activities in their owners.
“There could be direct effects of having a dog, such as more motivation for physical activity.”
Fall narrated an encounter with a scientist who suffered a stroke 6 months earlier who says he has his dog to thank for saving his life.
For future interests in dogs and human health, Prof. Fall says she intends to investigate a link with the microbiome. She suspects that the dirt and germs that naturally come with a dog might actually be able to boost its owner’s immune system.
However, this recent study takes its bases on the increase in the owner’s physical activities.
In 2013, the American Heart Association also issued a statement that “dog ownership is probably associated with decreased CVD risk”. The recent study published in Scientific Reports is giving depth to the earlier finding and giving practical reasons why it is so.
Obtaining the result from the 3.4 million Swedish people was possible because all Swedish residents are covered by the public health care system. Consequently, all hospital visits are registered in the National Patient Register.
For the research, all Swedish residents aged between 40 – 80 years on January 1, 2001 were eligible for the study.
The study finally concluded that ” dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death in the general population.”
Cardiovascular disease accounted for 45% (4 million) of all 2016 deaths in Europe, making it the leading cause of death worldwide.