While the divide between cat and dog owners isn’t as bad in real life as in theory, here’s a bit of news that’s bound to get the former a little rattled.
Data taken from more than 3 million individuals aged between 40 and 80 was used to investigate whether dog owners had higher or lower mortality rates than non-dog owners.
Remarkably, owners with no other love in their life apart from their canine companion showed a marked advantage. Those with dogs clocked a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and an 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to single non-dog owners.
In a press release accompanying the results, Mwenya Mubanga, the study’s lead author wrote: “A very interesting finding in our study was that 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 study also suggested that larger dogs are more beneficial to their owner’s health than smaller breeds. Which makes sense, because they’re much better than smaller dogs.
According to the data, owners of larger dogs that were originally bred for hunting purposes, were more protected from disease. The study doesn’t indicate what aspect of dog ownership improves human health, but scientists are speculating it’s got something to do with walking them.
So basically, having a dog makes you less lazy. According to Tove Fal, another study author, anyway.
“We know that dog owners, in general, have a higher level of physical activity,” she said, “which could be one explanation for the observed results. Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner.”
Not only that, but they’re just fun to have around.