Owning a dog lowers your risk of dying early by 24 percent, study says

File photo of a French Bulldog. (Shutterstock/Csanad Kiss)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Owning a dog can help you live longer.

A study published in "Circulation," a journal of the American Heart Association found that having a dog is good for your health. Data was collected from studies between 1950 to may 24, 2019.

In fact, "dog ownership has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk" and was associated with 24 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared to non-ownership.

"Recent reports have suggested an association of dog companionship with lower blood pressure levels, improved lipid profile, and diminished sympathetic responses to stress," according to the study.

A meta-analysis found even greater benefits for dog owners who had already had a heart attack or stroke.

"For those people, having a dog was even more beneficial. They had a 31 percent reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease," Mount Sinai endocrinologist Dr. Caroline Kramer said.

Other studies suggest positive results between life longevity and dog ownership.

A separate study of more than 336,000 Swedish men and women likewise found people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a major cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association found pet owners who walk their dogs got up to 30 minutes more exercise a day, leading to a healthier lifestyle. And a third study discovered that owning a dog can lower your blood pressure as much as medication, WYFF reported.

Dogs aren't only a benefit for people at risk of cardiovascular disease or other heart-related issues. The CDC reported that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation and impact nearly all stages of our lives.

"They influence social, emotional and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers," the CDC said.