Want to live longer? Get a dog

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A study released Tuesday suggests dog owners live longer than their canine-less counterparts, experiencing almost one-third lower risk of dying from heart problems.

"But these studies suggest that adopting a dog may be as much of a service to your own health as the dog's", he said, according to NBC News. The AHA's Glenn N. Levin, MD, explained, "While these non-randomized studies can not 'prove" that adopting or owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this'.

The study participants were between the ages of 40 and 85 and had suffered heart attacks or strokes between 2001 and 2012.

This risk was 15 per cent lower for those living with a partner or child, and a canine, compared to those that did not have a pet dog.

Dog ownership may be linked with a reduced risk of premature death and better cardiovascular outcomes.

One author from the Mubanga study disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry; one author from the Kramer study disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dog owners had a 65% reduced risk of death following a heart attack and a 31% reduced risk of death from heart disease, the researchers said. The researchers found that people who own dogs had lower blood pressure, milder stress response, and healthier cholesterol levels, than those who don't own dogs.

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However, the AHA also says that pet ownership is a caring commitment that comes with certain financial costs and responsibilities, so "the primary objective of adopting, rescuing, or purchasing a pet" should not be to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Man's best friend is also his best elixir of life.

Kramer undertook the research after noticing changes in her own behavior after she adopted her own dog, a miniature schnauzer named Romeo. Similarly, stroke patients who owned dogs and were living alone after being hospitalized had a 27% lower chance of dying than non-owners. Kramer of the University of Toronto Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes at Mt Sinai Hospital told Reuters Health by phone. Another suggested that owning a dog fed older English adults stay fit during inclement weather. They also give some people an added sense of goal.

The clinician scientist noted that her team's analysis didn't account for variables that may explain the difference in health outcomes between dog owners and the rest of the population. The findings come from two separate studies publish this month in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal published by the American Heart Association.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sees the health value in dog ownership.

Co-authors of the meta-analysis are Caroline K. Kramer, M.D., Ph.D., Sadia Mehmood, B.S., and Renée S. Suen.

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