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Owning a dog may add years to your life: Study

Higher level of physical activity and increased well-being are some of the reasons why dog owners have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease

Press Trust of India  |  Berlin 

The 'Lassie effect'

Owning a is associated with a reduced risk for disease and death, a study claims.

looked at over 3.4 million individuals aged between 40 and 80 years to study the association between ownership and during the 12-year follow-up.


The results showed that single owners had a 33 per cent reduction in risk of death and 11 per cent reduction in risk of 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 ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of 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 from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected," Mubanga said.

The study suggested that higher level of physical activity and increased well-being are some of the reasons why owners have a lower risk of disease.

"These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how could protect from disease.

"We know that 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 on the bacterial microbiome in the owner," said Tove Fall, from the Uppsala University.

First Published: Sat, November 18 2017. 18:31 IST
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