We see a lot of stories about dogs waking people up and saving them from fires. There was another one just the other day in South Carolina. But apparently dogs are saving a LOT more lives than that. A new study looked back at 70 years’ worth of research, and found people with dogs are less likely to die young in general.
Researchers looked at the medical records of about four million people from the U.S., Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K. And they found people with dogs are 24% less likely to die young for ANY reason.
Dog owners also have a 31% reduced risk of dying from heart disease. And when they do have a heart attack or stroke, they tend to recover faster. The authors of the study found an even bigger difference for people who lived alone but had dogs. So companionship has a lot to do with it.
And the fact that dog owners get more exercise also plays a big role. Previous studies have found people who walk their dogs get up to 30 more minutes of exercise a day. And even just petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure.