Does Owning a Dog Prevent Heart Disease?

Playing Drs. Rx: Could Adopting a Dog Help Prevent Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. according to the CDC. The Doctors share findings that a furry friend could actually help you stay heart healthy! Recent research suggests having a dog might boost a single person’s lifespan.

A study in Sweden tracked more than 3.4 million people, middle-aged and older, for 12 years. All of those participants were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study. Among folks who lived alone, those who are dog owners were found to be 11% less likely to die of heart disease, and a third less likely to die of any cause.

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Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra explains the premise of the study is when you have a dog, you have more social support, and it is going to mandate more physical activity because you're likely going to be walking that dog. Dr. Batra says this was a very well-done study because dog registration is mandated in Sweden, so ownership was well documented, and everyone in the large test group had zero histories of heart disease and cardiovascular events.

The researchers looked not just at heart disease but also at all the causes of mortality, and they controlled for anything else that may impact the results such as socioeconomics, gender and age. They found that just owning a dog was enough to make a difference!

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Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon points out there are many benefits to dog ownership. Studies have shown they are better for mental health and depression, healthy for children, and can boost your immune system.

Ready to adopt your own furry friend? The puppies The Doctors are holding are all from Vanderpump Dogs. Check out their website here to learn how you can become a dog owner. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork adds that adopting not only may save your life but may also save the life of a puppy!

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