Having a canine companion may help lower risk of heart disease.
A new study has reported that dog owners who have an acute myocardial infarction(MI) or ischemic stroke are less likely to die in the year after the event, according to the findings presented at the 2018 World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health.
Previous studies have found a connection between pet ownership and better physical and mental health of the owner.
After reviewing existing evidence, the authors concluded that owning pets, particularly dogs is probably associated with a lower risk of CVD and establishes a causal relationship.
Mubanga the lead author of the study said that it’s not possible to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the results because of the observational nature of the analyses but she attempted few explanations.
The prime reason may be the involvement of more physical activity such as playing and walking with dogs. Moreover keeping dogs provide a psychological boost up as it overcomes loneliness.
“Loneliness is an independent risk factor for premature death, having been associated with hypertension, coronary heart disease, and mortality,” Mubanga explained. “In our study, the gap in survival between singles and those living in multiple-person households were abolished when considering single dog owners only.”
Mubanga provided a rational justification that dog owners might seek medical attention sooner so as to not interfere with their normal dog-walking activities, which could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of any problems, or they might simply lead a more healthy and social lifestyle.
A similar study published in the Scientific Reports had reviewed the health and death records of more than 3 million people in Sweden ages 40 to 80 over more than a decade and found that:
Compared with people in multi-person households without dogs, people living in multi-person households with dogs had a risk of death that was 11% lower, and risk of death due to a cardiovascular cause that was 15% lower.
- These findings were even more dramatic for those living alone. Risk of death was 33% lower among dog owners, cardiovascular deaths were lower by 36%, and the risk of heart attack was 11% lower.
- The benefit was greater for owners of certain breeds of dogs, such as retrievers and terriers.
Having pet friends may help in cardiac rehabilitation after a cardiovascular event. Generally, such events lead to poor participation and the patient keeps himself aloof but canine partners may fill such gaps by indulging them into daily activities and having an early recovery from the disease.