Owning a Dog Could Help People Live Longer

24. Randomized Controlled Studies These studies involve at least two groups of participants: in this case, those who are forced to adopt a dog and those… Trista - December 31, 2019
Careful examination is vital for good results. Shutterstock

24. Randomized Controlled Studies

These studies involve at least two groups of participants: in this case, those who are forced to adopt a dog and those that are not. One study in this category placed cardiac patients in either a pet adoption group or a non-owner group; the group that adopted a dog or a cat showed a decrease in blood pressure response due to a stressful event.

Another small study taken place in Korea randomly assigned nursing home residents to pet crickets and asked them to take care of the insect for a minimum of eight weeks. After this time, the insect caring group exhibited significant improvements in depression and cognitive ability compared to the group that did not care for crickets.

Results look promising, but they’re not always reliable. Shutterstock

25. Limitations with Dog Ownership

While the results from the Canadian and Swedish studies seem promising, we have to consider the boundaries of the studies used to produce such results. In particular, these results came about from observational studies, which is simply observing what is already naturally occurring. This idea means that these studies alone cannot be used to determine that dog ownership ensures survival.

It may be possible that other factors contributed to the health of the individuals under review. While these studies did account for some confounding factors, it was not possible to predict and control for all of them.

Much medical research takes places that Mayo Clinic. Shutterstock

26. An Important Mayo Clinic Study About Dog Ownership

This Mayo Clinic study looked at a total of 1800 individuals to determine what benefits dogs have for patients with cardiovascular problems. It found that those who owned a dog were more likely to engage in healthier lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and eating healthy.

These individuals also had more favorable blood sugar levels compared to those who did not own a canine. The two may or may not be related, but the results of this particular test did reveal that owning a dog can help with many health ailments including blood sugar levels.

Just having a friend, even if they can’t talk, can improve your health. Shutterstock

27. National Poll On Healthy Aging

Another study was used to examine the mental health benefits of owning a dog. It looked specifically at older individuals, at a total of 2,000 adults between the ages of 50 and 80. More than half of participants owned pets; of those who owned pets, around 80% reported that their companions helped reduce their stress level. Pet owners who claimed to live alone and to be in poor health benefited as well: 70% of them stated that their animals helped them cope with both mental and physical symptoms.

Be warned though: pets, dogs especially, are hard work, and their care should not be taken lightly. Elderly individuals should only consider a dog if they are physically capable of keeping up with the demands of the pet.