Using data from more than three million people aged from 40 to 80 years of national registries, Swedish researchers examined the association between the presence of the dog and the health of the cardiovascular system. The history of 12 years of observations showed that dog owners to lower the risk of death due to heart disease or other causes.
At the beginning of the study in 2001. Data were collected several million people without previous cardiovascular disease, Including data from two registers of dog owners. The goal was to determine the risk of disease and death among dog owners and people without pets.
"An interesting discovery in this study was that the presence of the dog served as a protective factor in people living alone, and this group showed an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared to those who live in the family. For single people dog becomes a member of the family the results showed that single dog owners 33% lower risk of death and 11% -. the risk of cardiovascular diseases Another interesting finding was that the owners of the breeds of dogs, originally divorced for hunting, were the most. protected ", - says Mwene Mubanga, author of the study from the University of Uppsala.
In Sweden every person has a personal identification number. Visits to the hospital registered in the national database accessible to scientists. Even the registration of pets has been mandatory since 2001, so the researchers were able to examine whether the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease dog owners, and what were the mortality rates among them.
"Such studies are looking for relationships and patterns among the huge number of people, but do not give a direct answer about whether dogs can protect against cardiovascular disease. In families with a dog above the level of physical activity, which may be one explanation. Other causes - a high level of well-being, social contacts and dogs effects on bacterial microbiome owner ", - says Tove Fall, senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Medical Sciences and Research Laboratory for the life of Uppsala University.
"Perhaps there may be differences between the owners and the owners before purchasing a dog that may have affected the results. For example, people who give birth to dogs, are more active and in better health. The results are generalized to Sweden and are likely to be similar for other European groups with the same culture ", - he says Tove Fall.