Study: Owning a dog lowers risk of early death

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(WATE) – Dog owners, good news – dogs could add years to your life, according to new research from The University of Toronto.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 4 million people across six countries.

They found that dog owners had a lowered risk of dying early by 24%.

For heart attack survivors who live alone and own a dog, the risk of dying was lowered by 33%. Dog ownership was also associated with a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke when compared to non-dog owners.

The key? Walking your canine companion. Researchers behind the study believe a major factor could be that pet owners generally walk their dogs – getting up to 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Studies also show that petting dogs can reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression.

MORE ONLINE | View the American Heart Association’s release on the study here

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