A group of academics from Uppsala University in Sweden analyzed the health records of 3.4 million people in that northern European country, where databases contain detailed information on most everyone’s hospitalizations, medical history and even whether they own a dog. Such detailed records made it relatively easy to suss out the impact of having a canine companion.
The results were heartwarming.
People in possession of a pooch were less likely to have cardiovascular disease or die from any cause during the 12 years covered by the study, according to the study published in Scientific Reports. The impact was greatest for single people, said Mwenya Mubanga, an author of the paper from the university’s Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory.
“Dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death,” Mubanga said. “Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households.”