fox news - Dogs slash the risk of a premature death by a third
Owning a dog slashes the risk of suffering a premature death by a third, new research reveals.Older people who live alone are 33 per cent less likely to die over the next 12 years if they have a dog, according to a Swedish study of more than 3.4million elderly people.The biggest impact is in heart disease, the world's greatest killer, with owning Britain's favourite pet reducing early deaths rates by a staggering 36 per cent, the research adds.Researchers believe canine pets also help to lower loneliness, which has been described as 'akin to a chronic long-term condition' and linked to disorders including heart disease and dementia.As well as offering companionship and boosting non-human interactions, dogs also encourage their owners to exercise via walks, the researchers add.Dogs may also strengthen humans' gut bacteria, according to the researchers, which has previously been linked to a stronger immune system and maintaining a healthy weight.Man's best friend is the most popular pet in the UK, with 24 per cent of people owning a dog.PEOPLE SLEEP BETTER WITH THEIR DOG IN THEIR BEDROOM (BUT DON'T LET THEM SNEAK UNDER THE COVERS) Letting dogs sleep in bedrooms helps people get a better night's snooze, research revealed in September.This is only true, however, if the dog is present in the room, but not under the covers, a study found.Snuggling up to animals in bed reduces people's sleep quality, the research adds.Study author Dr Lois Krahn from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said: 'We found that many people find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.'Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home.'Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that.' How the research was carried out Researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden, analysed health records and dog ownership information from seven registries on individuals aged between 40 and 80 with no history of heart disease.The study's participants were followed between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2012 or until they died, if that was sooner.In Sweden, every hospital visit is recorded in national databases where they are then made accessible to researchers after individuals are made anonymous.Dog ownership registration has been mandatory in Sweden since 2001, enabling scientists to uncover pet ownership with any later diagnosis of heart disease or death from any cause.Lead junior author Mwenya Mubanga said: 'A very interesting finding in our study was dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household.'Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households.'The results showed single dog owners had a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovasc
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