Dog owners know that the experience of owning a pet can fill your heart with love and create happy memories. But, did you know that living with dogs also benefits our health and extends our lives? So says a study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
The research, conducted by the University of Toronto, Canada, in collaboration with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the US, shows that living with dogs reduces the risk of premature death.
First, the researchers looked at studies from 1950 to May 2019, which returned data on nearly 4 million people (both men and women).
Thus, over time, they discovered that those who had dogs could live longer compared to those who did not. The results showed that there was a 24% reduction in the risk of death from any cause. And the benefits don’t end there: According to the study, living with a dog reduces the chances of dying from heart disease. But it’s important to remember that the study’s finding may be related to other habits, such as exercising and avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol.
Living with Dogs also Helps combat Sedentary Lifestyle
Another finding, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, showed that adopting a dog can really help combat a sedentary lifestyle. Pet owners engage in two to four times more physical activity than non-dog owners.
Overall, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 to 300 minutes of low to moderate intensity physical activity per week. According to the publication, study participants who already had a dog at home met this recommendation without the need for additional activities.