Who doesn't love to have pets at home? They make for amazing companions, they love and care about you unconditionally and they're super adorable (that's the bonus). While most people opt for pets because they want a companion that's also a bundle of joy, what most people are unaware of is that having pets, especially dogs can actually prove to be quite beneficial for health too. Yes, a study has found that owning a dog can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions in people.
In fact, when it comes to heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone, owning a dog can pretty much be a life-saving thing. Having a dog as a pet can help lower social alleviation, can lower blood pressure and can even improve physical activity all of which are great for good heart health. "The two new studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality," said Glenn N.Levine, an expert from the American Heart Association.
For the study, researchers collected data provided by the Swedish National Patient Register. A comparison was made between dog owners and non-dog owners after suffering from a heart attack or stroke. The patients that were studied were all aged between 40-85 years and had suffered from a heart attack or stroke between 2001-2012.
As compared to non-dog owners, the risk for death by a heart attack in dog owners who lived alone was reduced by around 33% whereas for those who lived with a partner or child, the risk was reduced by 15%. Whereas the risk for stroke patients living alone with their dogs was reduced by 27% while those who lived in a partner or child saw a reduced risk of 12%.
While nearly 182,000 people out of which around 6% were dog owners were recorded to have a heart attack, nearly 155,000 people were recorded to have had an ischemic stroke out of which around 5% were dog owners. The researchers concluded that factors like less isolation, more physical activity and decreased depression in dog owners could be the reason behind the stark difference in reduced risk towards cardiovascular illnesses and conditions. "Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health," said an expert.