Dog ownership is associated with a 33% lower risk of early death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27% reduced risk of early death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.
Dog ownership was also associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners.
Overall, dog owners were 24% less likely to die over the next decade than non-dog owners. People who’d suffered a heart attack or other cardiovascular event had a 65% reduced risk of dying over the next decade if they owned a dog. Dog ownership reduced overall mortality from cardiovascular causes by 31%.
Increased physical activity plays a key role in the cardiovascular benefits of dog ownership, said Kramer, noting that her own step count has climbed “sky high” since she adopted Romeo, an energetic miniature schnauzer that she walks at least three times a day.