Owning a dog extends the life of a man, say scientists

© RIA Novosti / Evgeny to Betemporary in photomontage and childOwning a dog extends the life of a man, say scientists© RIA Novosti / Evgeny to Betemporary the image Bank

. People who own dogs live on average several months longer than the rest of the inhabitants of the planet, and the reasons are not yet clear, say scientists in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.

«As our data show, owning a dog reduces the risk of premature death by 33% and reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease and blood vessels by 11%. Interestingly, dogs especially beneficial to the life of single people who, as we know, more likely to die than members of the families,» said Mwenya of Mubanga (Mwenya Mubanga) from Uppsala University (Sweden).

Dogs have long been considered a kind of «Pavlov’s machines» – in fact, bio-robots, whose main goal is to search for food and reproduction. The owner in this case is for them a kind of trough, and not another living being. Recently these ideas have begun to be criticized, and many psychologists and biologists believe that human interaction itself plays an important role in the life of dogs.

For example, recently neuroscientists have found that dogs are able to understand the tone and meaning of words that they are told the owners that they are communicating with people not for food, but for the sake of attention and positive emotions, and that they are able to recognize emotions on the face of familiar and unfamiliar people. In addition, dogs were able to remember «useless» information and use it later when communicating with the host.

Mubanga and her colleagues revealed one more unusual quality of dogs, trying to understand how life in the company of «man’s best friend» can influence the health and psyche of people. To answer this question, scientists analyzed the results of observation of the condition of the heart and blood vessels approximately 3.4 million Swedes conducted by the Swedish government in 2001 to today.

All participants in this project, as noted by Mubanga did not suffer from heart problems and other serious diseases at the start of observation that helped scientists to check how the appearance of a pet in the house can improve or worsen the health of the circulatory system and influence the risk of premature death.

It turned out that dogs are the only positive – their owners have died significantly less often and later than people who did not have Pets. Interestingly, the strength of this effect depended not only on the lifestyle of the owner of the dog, but her breed – people who have had dogs hunting breeds lived longer on average than owners of «decorative» and «urban» dogs.

It is not clear what exactly is associated a similar effect, but scientists suggest that dogs can improve the health of their hosts in several ways, «walking» them and causing them to feel the joy of life.

«We know that dog owners are high levels of physical activity that can strengthen the health of their heart and explain what we discovered. On the other hand, one cannot exclude the fact that the longevity of people influences the process of socializing the dog or its microflora,» concludes Tove fall (Tove Fall), a colleague of Mubanga.