A study of 3.4 million Swedes has found that dog owners have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease or other causes. The research team looked at details for people aged 40 to 80, and compared them to the details of people of the same age who owned dogs. They found there was a lower risk of cardiovascular disease among the dog owners, particularly if their dog was a hunting breed.
However, while owning a dog might help us get more physical activity, researchers said it may be active people in the first place who choose to own dogs. They also said that owning a dog may protect people from cardiovascular disease by increasing their social contact or well being.
Another strange theory they came up with is that dogs may change their owner’s ‘bacterial microbiome’, which is the collection of microscopic species that live in the gut. It is suspected that a dog may influence its owner's microbiomes because they change the dirt in home environments, exposing people to bacteria they may not have encountered any other way.
What do you think of the results of this new study? If you’re a dog owner, make sure that you encourage your non dog owning friends to perhaps think about purchasing a dog for themselves. Just remember that a dog is for life, not just to lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease!
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