It's been well documented that the Swedish may just hold all the secrets to living a happier and healthier life. And according to a new study from Uppsala University (the oldest college in Sweden), one of those secrets is really simple: Adopt a dog.
Science has already proven that dogs boost our moods while reducing stress, provide us comfort and therapeutic assistance when times are tough, and now a new study published in Nature shows that dog owners actually live longer — with healthier hearts — than their pupper-less peers.
The Swedish researchers studied data from more than 3 million individuals between the ages of 40 and 80 in order to find out whether dog owners had higher or lower mortality rates than non-dog owners. What they found was that single people with companion dogs had a whopping 33 percent reduction in risk of death and an 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease compared to other singles without a canine ride-or-die in their lives.
In addition to previous studies and reports that point out the obvious factors, like dog ownership meaning more walking and physical exercise year-round (when they've gotta go, you've gotta go!), the new Uppsala University study pays particular attention to the effects of dog ownership and its beneficial effects in reducing cardiovascular risk for single persons and the elderly. By additionally providing a non-human form of social support, dog ownership is associated with alleviation of social isolation and improved perception of wellbeing.
The focus on the benefits of owning a dog in relation to combatting cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death worldwide — was the goal of the 12-year study in order to clarify previous reports with conflicting connections between puppers, humans, and overall health. Not only did they now find an overwhelming increase in heart health — but in patients with coronary artery disease, dog ownership is associated with improved survival.
If you're looking to bring home your own pup, here's some of our best advice: