Single dog-owning adults who lived alone were 11 per cent less likely to subsequently develop heart disease and 33 per cent less likely to die than non-dog owners, the analysis found. Hunting dogs seemed to offer the most protection when it came to staying alive.
"Dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death in the general population", the study said.
"The responsibilities associated with dog ownership impose mandatory daily exercise - a schedule which can not be impacted by adverse weather conditions, personal commitments or mood swings", Wolf-Klein said.
Researchers conceded that they haven't found a causal relationship between owning a dog and lower risk of heart disease, but the association is telling. At the beginning of the study, none of them had been diagnosed with heart disease.
"Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households", Mubanga said.
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Dogs could alleviate social isolation, depression and loneliness, the study said. Researchers believe that their findings from the research would probably be applicable to many European countries having same attitude to own a dog.
'Other explanations include an increased wellbeing and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome (gut bacteria) in the owner'.
However, the authors recognise the limitations of the study, as the data doesn't show the differences between owners and non-owners before getting a dog, which could have influenced results.
In news that is FAR from barking mad, scientists have discovered that man's best friend may also be man's biggest life-saver.
So basically, dogs are great because they keep you happy and keep you active, which keep your ticker ticking along nicely.