(Photo by Jordan Koons on Unsplash)

UPPSALA, Sweden — Thinking of getting a pet, but not sure it’s worth it? Some new research may change your mind. A new study finds that dog owners enjoy longer lives than others.

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden looked at a broad set of data on more than 3.4 million healthy adult Swedes between ages 40 and 80 to determine whether dog ownership could help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Man carrying dog
A new study finds that dog owners may live longer thanks to lower rates of heart disease and other deadly ailments. (Photo by Jordan Koons on Unsplash)

Interestingly, owning a dog was determined to be a preventive factor for those who lived by themselves, among whom cardiovascular disease and premature death are typically seen at higher rates.

“The results showed that single dog owners had a 33% reduction in risk of death and 11% reduction in risk of myocardial infarction during follow-up compared to single non-owners,” says Mwenya Mubanga, one of the study’s lead authors, in a university news release. “Another interesting finding was that owners to dogs from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected.”

The researchers remain uncertain as to the mechanisms guiding improved health in dog owners, but suggested some possibilities.

“We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results,” explains Tove Fall, the study’s senior author. “Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner.”

Of course, it is also possible that “people choosing to get a dog tend to be more active and of better health” by nature, Fall argues.

Fall believes that her team’s findings likely apply to not only Swedish individuals, but many living in regions with similar attitudes toward dog ownership, including much of Europe.

The researchers published their findings last week in the journal Scientific Reports.

About Daniel Steingold

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 Comment