According to the AKC (American Kennel Club, in a study of heart attack survivors, those who lived alone but with a dog, had a 33 percent lower risk of death compared to people living alone who did not own a dog.
There are multiple studies that appear to show a direct link between owning a dog and better life expectancy, as well as better quality of life. So, is it just that dog owners walk more? After all, they’re going to have to take their “best friend” out for a walk, at least a couple of times a day. Much easier than the stress of watching the kids argue whose turn it is to take him/her out. It’s a whole lot healthier too.
Over and above exercise there is mounting evidence of multiple health benefits to owning a dog. “Man’s/woman’s best friend” is not just an empty slogan. The absolute, unconditional love and companionship that dogs provide is known to reduce stress, calm anxiety and even help with depression. On their own the psychological benefits provide ample proof of the health advantages of owning a dog. But moreover, they can work wonders when you apply them to the physical challenges of recovering from illness, surgery, or deteriorating health as we get older. Dog ownership also seems to be particularly beneficial to those suffering from a heart condition. Apparently, dog ownership can truly provide nourishment for mind, body and soul.
When it comes to more mature adults, a poll sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine found that 90% of dog owners said they feel more loved and enjoy life more in addition to being less stressed overall.
And there’s the social aspect of dog ownership. A poll of the 2,000 dog owners found that around 50% of them made friends while walking their dogs. Furthermore, 60 percent of their dogs also made their own furry friends. Dog people tend to be friendly and social always happy to do doggy talk. A trip to the doggy park, means your dog gets to enjoy time with his canine comrades, while you meet and chat with other dog owners. Add to that, a conversation about your dog can be a great ice breaker. Indeed, one might ponder how many people have met their partners/spouses through their dogs?
In addition to all these natural benefits, dogs have also been trained to sniff out cancer or other ailments, where for some reason they are able to detect a whole range of health problems in their owners.
While the question of whether dog owners do actually live longer may still be up for debate, for dog owners, the love, companionship, improved quality and sheer joy of living with a dog, is pretty much a given.