For years there have been countless studies done, and many articles and reports published regarding the positive health effects of having a dog. Dog lovers will say they’ve known this all along, and it does seem that dogs have a calming effect on most people. But for those who may still need a bit of convincing, now there’s more evidence.
According to a recent study, having a dog will lower your risk of having a cardiovascular event such as stroke or heart attack, and your risk of death. The study found that risk of death due to a cardiovascular cause was 15 percent lower for people living with families that had a dog. For people living alone the risk of death for the same reasons was an amazing 36 percent lower.
So, what is it that makes having a dog so good for our health? No one knows for sure what the answer to that question is but there are some very educated guesses.
Some believe that having a dog can improve the immune function. Having a dog that brings in dirt and germs could improve the immune system and reduce harmful inflammation.
Having a dog could alter the types of bacteria we harbor in our digestive tracts, which in turn could affect inflammation in the body and resultant cardiovascular risk.
Past research has found that social contact is linked with lower cardiovascular risk and rates of death. Having a dog promotes greater social interaction, dog owners tend to bond with one another as their dogs play together.
Dogs are known to have a mood-altering effect on people. Some have even proposed that the unconditional affection and companionship of dogs can improve mood, and through this effect lead to better health.
There are still those who attribute lower deaths due to cardiovascular related causes to other reasons than owning a dog. We may never know if having a dog around is really the reason, but dogs are fun anyway.