Why having a dog may add years to your life

Dogs are the most popular household pet, with millions across the world owning the four-legged animals. There are a lot of reasons why having a dog can be great, not least because they are a big part of the family. People admire the loyalty and versatility of dogs, and they can serve so many purposes for people. In addition to being pets, they can help the blind, fight crime, and save lives.

But, there are actually some unexpected benefits to having a dog as well. We know that they are great for companionship and loyalty. And the debate has long raged about whether cats and dogs are better (we prefer dogs, but don’t tell!). Incredibly, you might not know this, but having a dog can actually add years to your life; read on to find out more!


Studies have been carried out by scientists at the University of Uppsala, tracking the health of almost 3.5 millions Swedes for 12 years. This started way back in 2001 and was carried out because of the fact that dog registration is mandatory, and all hospital visits are recorded – making it easy to keep on top of results and track subjects. The research found, amazingly, that those who owned purebred dogs were less at risk of dying, and less at risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.


In fact, studies showed that, for people living in a multi-person household, their risk of death dropped by 11%. And their risk of dying from a cardiovascular-related disease was actually reduced by around 15%! And, for those who were single and owned dogs, the figures were not quite the same, but still pretty similar. Incredibly, single dog owners had their chances of death reduced by almost 33%, with 11% less of a chance of getting a heart attack than non-single owners. This is an amazing statistic that shows one of the real benefits of having a dog in the household.


So, we know that having a dog is good for your health, and can actually even help you to live longer, but why? What is the secret? Do these dogs have special powers?! The study offered us results, but it didn’t offer us an explanation as to why owning a pooch can prolong your life. However, some experts have offered us potential explanations for why – one of the main ones offered is that owning a dog is good for physical exercise and exertion. Dogs need plenty of exercise and like to be active a lot of the time. This means that the owners are going to need to be active as well, and this keeps them fit and healthy.

Having a four-legged friend in your life can be the ultimate way of prolonging your life and helping you to be more healthy. Companionship is important, and your dog can provide much-needed company in later life. But, it is also an active creature which means you need to be as active as possible – and this is great for your body, and especially your heart.