The results showed that single dog owners had a 33 per cent reduction in risk of death and 11 per cent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease compared to single non-owners, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
"A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household," said Mwenya Mubanga, from the Uppsala University in Sweden.
"Another interesting finding was that owners to dogs from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected," Mubanga said.
"We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results. Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner," said Tove Fall, from the Uppsala University.