Dogs Can Help You Live Longer As If You Needed Another Reason To Get A Dog

by 2 years ago
dog high fiving man


Thousands of years ago, when humans hunted woolly mammoths and the world was covered in more ice than your ex-girlfriend’s heart, someone took a look at wolves and was like “Hey, you know those incredibly fast and muscular beasts with giants fangs and an insatiable taste for flesh? We should totally try to be buddies with them.” It might have sounded crazy at the time, but based on the number of Facebook videos I’ve seen featuring dogs forced into adorable costumes, the whole domestication thing actually worked out pretty well.

Anyone who’s ever had a dog understands why they’re man’s best friend, and anyone who hasn’t has made a series of poor decisions over the years. If you’re somehow on the fence about bringing a canine friend into your home, I might be able to persuade you. According to a newly published study, dogs can help you live a longer life— especially if you don’t have anyone special in yours.

Swedish researchers examined the health records of 3.4 million people, which for some reason include information about whether or not they’ve ever owned a dog. They found that those who made the conscious decision to bring more joy into their lives were at a lower risk of heart disease and generally lived longer. The effect was especially pronounced in single people, who were 33 percent less likely to die than their non-dog-owning counterparts.

The people who conducted the study aren’t exactly sure why dogs can increase your lifespan, but they did point to a couple of common sense factors. Researcher Tove Fall said:

“We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results,” Fall said. “Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner.”

The study didn’t say anything about cats, but I imagine they make you live a shorter life based on the stress that comes with knowing they’re constantly plotting ways to kill you while you sleep.