New study suggests owning a dog will make you live longer

Must See 09/10/2019

Cats may have nine lives, but dogs will make yours last longer according to new research.

A new study has shown dog ownership is associated with a 24 percent reduction in mortality.

"Our analysis found having a dog is actually protective against dying of any cause," endocrinologist Dr. Caroline Kramer told CNN.

Kramer is the lead author of a review of nearly 70 years of global research which was published on Tuesday.

'Dog Ownership and Survival' analysed data from almost 4 million participants across New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia and the UK to reveal the benefits of canine companions.

For those who have already suffered a stroke or heart attack, the data had good news.

"They had a 31 percent reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease," said Kramer.

The benefit was highest for dog owners who lived alone. 

Heart attack survivors living with their dogs had a 33 percent lower chance of death, compared to those who didn't own dogs.

However the study is observational, which means it cannot be proved owning a dog is the direct cause of extended life expectancy.

"Is it the dog or is it the behaviours?" said Dr Martha Gulati, editor in chief of the American College of Cardiology patient education platform.

"Is it because you're exercising or is it because there is a difference in the type of person who would choose to have a dog versus somebody who would not?"

While the study is not proof dogs can make you live longer, it's been called "suggestive" that dogs can extend your lifespan.

"These robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this," said Dr Glenn Levine, co-author of the American Heart Foundation's scientific statement on the study.