Can Being a Pet Parent Extend Your Life?

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Can Being a Pet Parent Extend Your Life?

In what will come as no surprise to pet parents everywhere, a recent study carried out by professors at Uppsala University found that a dog in the home can be particularly beneficial to heart and stroke survivors, especially those who live alone. The research also shows people with dogs can benefit from improved cardiovascular health in general.

Study highlights include:

  • A dog in the family was related to a 27% reduced risk of death for stroke survivors and 33% lower risk of death for heart attack survivors when compared to people who did not have a dog.
  • Dogs were associated with a 24% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by stroke or heart attack compared to people without dogs.

The main reasons given for the positive effects include increased physical exercise, better cholesterol profiles, and lower blood pressure levels than people without dogs in their lives. Here are other ways your pooch can help you stay healthy:

Seizure Assistance

For people with medical conditions like epilepsy that feature seizures, the falls they suffer are often more damaging than the seizures themselves. Seizure assistance dogs are trained to bark when their humans start to have a seizure, alerting them and other people to the impending risk. They give the people who share their lives with them the independence and confidence to live life less fearful of what might happen.

Stress Relief

Life with an animal partner is rewarding in and of itself, but they can also help calm you down and keep depression at bay. Exercise plays a big role in stress relief and researchers have found that nearly 50% of pet parents exercised 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.

Playing with your pup also increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain, keeping you relaxed, reducing stress, and increasing happiness levels. The next time you’re feeling low, take a break and spend some time with your four-legged member of the family. Their wagging tail is sure to put a smile on your face!

Allergy Sniffers

Did you know some dogs can help prevent fatal peanut allergy reactions? With their superior sense of smell, poodles, labs, and other dogs have successfully tackled the task. They’ve been specially trained to detect minute traces of peanuts but the expense of obtaining one can be prohibitive. For people with life-threatening allergies, however, one of these pups can be a literal life-saver.

Dogs are wonderful friends and companions who are vital to a happy, joyous life at any age. And science continues to back that up. All pet parents know the joy of happily waking up to a smiley face and wagging tail or coming home to a pup thrilled to see them and ready for a shared walk.

Whenever you find yourself focusing on the practicalities of sharing life with a dog—things like pet food and vet visits—remind yourself how the unconditional love they bring can have such a positive effect on your health and life.

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