There have been many studies that have shown benefits when you have a four-legged companion. One of these studies, published November 17, 2017 in Scientific Reports is certainly the most impressive of all: it is based on data collected from 3.4 million subjects, just that!
A study with impressive amplitude and results
Such research has been possible thanks to data analysis in Sweden: there, each inhabitant has a unique identification number given for example of a hospitalization or after the purchase of an animal. Once anonymized, this information can be used by scientists to conduct large-scale studies.
For this research, the research team at Uppsala University collected data from seven national registries including two concerning dog owners.
They were able to make the connection between the presence of a dog in the home, hospitalization following a cardiovascular disease or death thanks to information counting millions of people aged 40 to 80 years and having no history heart disease.
The databases studied were retrieved over 12 consecutive years.
Outcomes: Lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and lower mortality
“Our results show that dog owners living alone are 33% less likely to die and 11% less likely to suffer from myocardial infarction during follow-up compared to people who are totally alone,” Mwenya said in a statement. Mubanga, one of the main instigators of the study.
If the final objective of this research was not to interpret these results, scientists still make some suggestions:
“One of the mechanisms that would explain why dog owners have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and have lower mortality, is the mitigation of psychosocial stressors. For example, social isolation, depression and loneliness – it has already been proven that they are all less present in dog owners. And it has already been proven that these factors are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and mortality, “note the researchers in the study. “In addition, having a dog could make it easier for people to recover after an illness, including pushing them into physical activity again.”
For the year 2016, nearly 4 million deaths were linked to cardiovascular disease in Europe, almost one out of every two deaths.
In addition to the social support that they bring us, our four-legged friends seem to play a real role in the prevention of these pathologies by the motivation that they bring to their master concerning the activities