Study: Dog owners have lower risk of death

 

(KRON/CNN) — Forget about an Apple a day; if you really want a long happy life, get a dog.

A new study has found certain breeds are more likely to prolong your life. And certain people are more likely to enjoy the benefits.

The study comes from Sweden, where every dog must be registered. That meant the researchers had wide access to personal health records.

The verdict: people who own dogs live longer, and have a lower risk of heart failure. 

Dog ownership has the greatest impact on people living alone, reducing the overall death rate by 36 percent and the risk of fatal heart disease by 36 percent.

People living with others enjoy a lower benefit, but it is still significant. The researchers say they are not sure why dog owners are healthier.

But they note that they tend to get more exercise walking their pets. Dogs also provide comfort and stress reduction.

All that licking may also be good for you by stimulating your immune system. It turns out some breeds are better for you than others.

Beagles, dachshunds, pointers, and retrievers top the list, with significantly higher health benefits than sheepdogs, toy poodles, and mongrels.

American researchers say the Swedish results might not be 100 percent the same in this country,

One reason is the milder climate–dog owners in the U.S. are more likely to simply let their pets run around in the backyard instead of taking them for walks.

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