Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Can Owning a Dog Lead to a Longer Life?

Image result for dog

Who doesn't love dogs, right? Man's best friend can do anything from providing company, performing service tasks, providing emotional support, and apparently even leading to longer lives for us humans. A study was performed on patients ranging from 40 to 85 years of age. All of these patients recorded having had a heart attack or stroke between 2001 and 2012. Of the 182,000 people who reported having heart attacks, around 5% (9,100) of the them also had dogs. When the health of these individuals was compared to that of non-dog owners who also had heart attacks, it was found that their risk of death from heart attack was 33% lower. This is a pretty substantial difference, so why might this be?

According to this article that also provided the statistics above,  it is possible that the increase in exercise that goes along with owning a dog plays a role. Those at risk for heart attack typically have high blood pressure and may have increased cholesterol levels. By owning a dog and having to do more exercise through walking and playing, these individuals are able to lower these levels leading to a decreased risk of death from heart attack and other cardiovascular complications. It could also be that owning a dog leads to decreased depression and loneliness. A previous study was done on patients who experienced social isolation and the results showed worse health outcomes for these patients. This article  also supports that less social isolation and less depression can have a positive impact on physical health. Who would have known that having a furry friend to come home to everyday could have such a drastic impact on physical health.

Most people can probably agree that dogs are pretty incredible and can do so many great things. The findings from the first article suggest that dog ownership can be associated with a longer life, especially when it comes to heart attack patients. Considering just how many people are at risk of death from heart attacks, it is interesting that a potential solution could be owning a dog to decrease that risk greatly.

-Brianna Luciani
Week (5)


  1. Being a dog lover, I really enjoyed this article. Dogs are a smart and loving species. I can see why owning a dog would lead to a longer life. My mom walks my family dog everyday for at least an hour. I do understand however that not everyone walks their dog. I wonder if there is a difference between dog owners who choose to engage in more physical activity than other owners. I also agree with the part about how dogs can decrease depression and loneliness. A dog is a companion for life and if you treat them right they will always be loyal to their owner. I agree with the article and study in the fact the dogs can help lead humans to a longer life.
    - Sophie DeRepentigny

  2. I am not surprised that dogs can help some people to lead longer lives. Human-dog interactions can release oxytocin, a "love" hormone that plays a role in bonding, trust, and altruism, within the brain. This hormone, which releases when people interact with their dogs, helps with calming and loneliness that their owners may experience. Therefore, having a dog can lead to a better emotional and physical health.
    Posted by Lauren Shone

  3. I definitely believe what this article is saying. I've always had a dog since I was little and you definitely get your exercise from them. From puppies to when they're older, they love going for walks and running around. I definitely could see a correlation with a decrease in depression for people who take good care of their dogs. In a way, dogs sense when you are upset or acting different and comfort you in their own way. I wonder if there is an actual reason behind this or if it is just something we think. I'd be interested to see how a dog thinks/perceives things. Overall, dogs definitely can have positive impacts on our lives.
    -Matt Cayer

  4. It's interesting to see this is being researched. It's commonly known that some dogs will live to wait until their owner die and will also die soon after. It's hard to not think there is some connection.
    -fredjah desmezeaux

  5. I absolutely loved this post and agree with it. Growing up with dogs in the family I can relate to how it helps you exercise and stay healthy both physically and emotionally. Our lab was a playful machine that was always active and it would keep my sister and I busy because we were responsible for taking him to walks or playing with him most of the time. Shortly after my grandpa died we adopted another pup and it was one of the best thing we did. That dog would know when any of us was down and it would go to us and try to play or give us kisses so we wouldn't end up crying. Dogs really can improve ones lives in so many ways.

    Posted by Genesis Figueroa

  6. Loved the article! As someone who lives in a house with a dog, I can agree that it definitely improved my life. Before I had a dog, I would carry around stuffed animals everywhere. After I got a dog, I was generally more excited to be at home and always had something to look forward to.

    -Isaac Collibee

  7. This article is very interesting to me. I grew up with a dog and love animals, and I can see why people would say that owning a dog can lead to a longer life. I think by creating bonds with animals we can feel more fulfilled and happy. Happiness is something that seems to be essential to the overall health of a person, both mental and physical. I think a good state of mind can release hormones that are beneficial to overall health. In this article though, the emphasis seemed more on the lifestyle rather than being a dog owner. The article pointed out that the exercise that comes along with being a dog owner helps to decrease risk for heart attacks, not just owning a dog.

    Posted by John Mariano

  8. This article is so interesting. I've always wanted a dog and after reading this article, I now have another reason why I should get a dog. This study points out a lot of interesting correlations between owning dogs and health. Although there are possible correlations, the health issues mentioned could have other factors affect them. I agree that being a dog owner could mean an increased amount of exercise and could decrease the risk of heart issues, however, the risks could also be affected by other lifestyle choices. I think that it is important to keep in mind that these are correlational studies.

    -Emily Wong

  9. I am a cat lover!! But I like dogs too of course. However, I do believe that having a dog or any type of animal within your life can possibly improve your health status mentally, and with a dogs case physically. I think the companionship a dog shows to its owner can offers a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It would be interesting to know more about the influence in which pets can exert on human mental health. I think they are an essential aspect to experience and important to have at some point within one's life.
    -Elise Babula