A new study says owning a dog, long praised as man’s best friend, could help you live longer.
Pro-dog propaganda or simply science? Based on a study recently published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, having a canine companion was linked to a 21% reduction in the risk of death from any cause for those with heart disease.
Researchers pulled data from the Swedish Nationwide Register, showing “single-person households with dogs were associated with a markedly greater reduction in all-cause mortality than multiperson households. Interestingly, the effect appeared to be somewhat larger for owners of more active breeds like pointers and hunting dogs,” according to an editorial accompanying the research by Dr. Dhruv Kazi, a cardiologist and health economist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.
Though as Kazi noted to NPR, “They’re not randomized trials, the gold standard for what we would do to evaluate a new drug.”
But don’t feel so smug, dog people. Having a feline pal has been linked to healthier results, too. In 2008, researchers told the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference that those who had never had a pet cat were 30% more likely to die of any cardiovascular disease, and 40% more likely to die of a heart attack when compared with cat people.
In comments to WebMD, American Stroke Association spokesman Dr. Daniel Lackland, seemed to take a “can’t we all just along” stance. Both cats and dogs “are good, they make you feel better. And studies have shown that a general feeling of well-being is linked to better overall health.”