Having a furry best friend beside you is more beneficial for your well-being than you think. Dogs are not just companions—recent studies show how pets, especially your friendly pooches, can help you boost your energy and a more positive outlook in life. Aside from emotional support, experts have also found how your adorable hounds can extend your lifespan.
“Dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduction in all cause mortality,” said Kramer in an interview with CNN. Since the 1980s, shreds of evidence on dog ownership have shown varied results—often conflicting ones. But after garnering a large pool of data, Kramer’s research gave compelling data on how owning dogs can contribute to a longer life.
Two studies made by the American Heart Association shed light on how dogs mitigate the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Results from the studies show that dog owners enjoy a 31% lesser chance of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners. These two studies further cement how social isolation and lack of physical activity can impact patients negatively.
The American Heart Association also conducted a separate study on pet ownership and cardiovascular risk. Of all pets, dogs are found to be likely to influence one’s level of physical activity. Daily tasks such as walking and bonding times spent with dogs allowed owners to reach their regular recommended time for physical activity as compared to non-owners.
Based on the reports of the World Health Organization, heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of death. In the United States alone, the American Heart Association reported that 116.4% or roughly 46% of adults have hypertension. On average, there is a person who dies from cardiovascular diseases every 38 seconds.
It is worth noting how people who lived alone with their dogs showed the most perceivable benefits of pet ownership. “People who lived with a dog actually had less mortality than people living alone who didn’t have a dog,” said Dr. Martha Gulati, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org
Loneliness and social isolation are substantial risk factors of premature death, says Tove Fall, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Uppsala University of Sweden. In his interview with CNN, he hypothesized how a company of a pet can alleviate these negative emotions.
Single owners have to walk their dogs almost every day, letting them enjoy the companionship of their pets while getting exercise. In Kramer’s findings, participants had significantly lower cholesterol profile and blood pressure.
Plunging further into the benefits of dog ownership, Helen Brooks and her colleagues explored how pets and therapy animals can have a positive effect on stress, anxiety, and depression. In her study, she emphasized the role of animals in an individual’s long-term mental health conditions. No wonder why dogs are often chosen as companions when coping up with illnesses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Despite the findings of these concrete researches, Dr. Glenn Levine said that these non-randomized studies cannot directly prove that adopting or owning a dog leads to reduced mortality. In addition, the American Heart Association also reminds us that the primary purpose of adopting, rescuing, or purchasing a pet should not be centered around our desire to live longer.
Watch the video below and delve deeper into why dogs are great for your health.