Owning a dog associated with longer life, especially in heart attack patients, study finds

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dogs continually prove they are man’s best friend. New findings show they are helping people live longer, especially after a heart attack or stroke.

The American Heart Association did some research and found dog owners live longer after a heart attack or stroke compared to patients without a dog.

Dog ownership was associated with a 33% lower risk of death for heart attack survivors living alone and a 27% reduced risk of death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.

Additionally, dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners.

The study says this could be explained by an increase in physical activity and the decreased depression and loneliness, both of which have been connected to dog ownership in previous studies.

“Now we're seeing dog ownership is improving mental health independently, and patients are having less stress and anxiety. And we think those are important factors contributing to the overall health of the patient, particularly after a heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Sunil Advani, Indiana Heart Physicians.

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