Two studies published Tuesday suggest that dog owners may live longer or recover more quickly after a heart attack or stroke when compared to those who don’t own a dog.
Researchers found that people with canine companions had a 24% lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically a 33% lower risk of death among heart attack survivors who live on their own.
Director of the heart failure program at the Boston VA Healthcare System, Dr. Haider Warraich, called the studies “interesting and provocative.”
“I don’t think that this is what many people think about when adopting a dog,” he said. “They think they’re doing it for the animal, not for their own health. But these studies suggest that adopting a dog may be as much of a service to your own health as the dog’s.”
On that note, Warraich did concede that the studies didn’t provide enough evidence for him to start recommending patients adopt a dog. He said that there would have to be a significant rise in research for him to feel comfortable doing so.