Dog Owners Have a Decreased Risk of Death, Study Finds

PetMD Editorial
Published: November 22, 2017
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There are a million great things about being a dog owner, but this one is pretty high up there: owning a dog may actually help you live longer. 

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, dogs may be beneficial in "reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity." 

The Swedish-based study also found that dog ownership in both single- and multi-person households had its respective benefits. For instance, people who live alone and have dogs can decrease their risk of death by 33 percent and their risk of cardiovascular-related death by 36 percent (compared to single people who do not have pets).

In multi-person households, dog owners have an 11 percent decreased risk of death and a 15 percent lower chance of death due to cardiovascular disease, compared to non-dog households.

So what makes having a dog such a health benefit? Researchers attribute the benefits to the fact that dogs can alleviate "psychosocial stress factors, such as social isolation, depression and loneliness," as well as promote increased physical activity.

Though the study does not speak for the dog-owning populations outside of Sweden, the numbers can only be a boost of confidence for pet parents worldwide. 

Image via Shutterstock 

Read more: Differentiating Between Pet Parents and Pet Owners