If you’re a dog owner you’ll know the complete joy that comes with having a pet pooch – the pure pride you feel when they graduate from puppy school, the adorable selfies of them napping and the overwhelming excitement you both feel when you’re reunited after a hard day at the office.
But being a dog owner could also mean that you live longer, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
They found that individuals who suffered heart attacks and lived alone were 33% less likely to die once released from hospital than those with a pooch.
Professors at Uppsala University looked at data of Swedish residents aged 40 to 85 who suffered from a heart attack or stroke between 2011 and 2012.
The stroke victims who owned a dog had a 27% lower risk of death than those without a canine.
Speaking of the findings, Tove Fall, professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University, said: ‘We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death.
‘Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people. Furthermore, keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health.
‘More research is needed to confirm a causal relationship and giving recommendations about prescribing dogs for prevention.
‘Moreover, from an animal welfare perspective, dogs should only be acquired by people who feel they have the capacity and knowledge to give the pet a good life.’
Probably all the convincing we need to get five dogs.