Turns Out Owning A Dog Helps You Live Longer, According To Science

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 

Owning a dog can help reduce your risk of dying early by more than 20 percent

While it’s no secret that owning pets brings an insurmountable joy to the lives of the humans who have them, owning a dog is associated with extending actual human lives. Having and loving a dog is actually preventative against dying, because dogs are amazing creatures and proof we can have nice things.

RELATED: Ready To Add A Dog To Your Family? These 5 Questions Will Make The Process Less Ruff

According to a new study, research involving four million people worldwide shows major health benefits to owning a dog.”Our analysis found having a dog is actually protective against dying of any cause,” said Mount Sinai endocrinologist Dr. Caroline Kramer, lead author of the review of nearly 70 years of global research published Tuesday in “Circulation,” a journal of the American Heart Association.


The research involved studying the habits of dog-loving people in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.”Dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduction in all cause mortality,” said Kramer, who is also an assistant professor in the division of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Toronto.

Owning a doggo proved to have an even bigger benefit for people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke. “For those people, having a dog was even more beneficial. They had a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease,” Kramer said.

These numbers are not insignificant, to be sure. When I lost my own goodest girl in the whole wide world, Molly, over six years ago, I felt depressed and grieved the loss acutely for months. Someone at the time explained it like this: think of all the tiny moments of joy you have with your dog throughout any given day. Whether it’s a pet, a snuggle, a walk, or just watching them be dogs — there are countless moments of happiness directly related to your dog. When they’re gone, those tiny daily moments disappear with them. So it makes sense that owning a dog and loving that dog as much as so many of us do ultimately helps us live our best lives.

The American Heart Association has highlighted studies that found pet owners who walk their dogs got up to 30 minutes more exercise a day than non-walkers, which is good for overall cardiovascular health.

“There are studies suggesting that individuals who have dogs have a better cholesterol profile and lower blood pressure,” said Kramer. “One study, my favorite, found just the effect of petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure as much as a medication,” Kramer said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies show dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation and impact nearly all stages of our lives. “They influence social, emotional and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers,” the CDC says.

Yes. Bring us all the dogs, please. ALL THE GOOD DOGGOS, COME HITHER.

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