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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 17;7(1):15821. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16118-6.

Dog ownership and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death - a nationwide cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
2
Department of Surgical Sciences, Orthopedics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
3
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.
4
Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Ruminant Medicine and Veterinary Epidemiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
5
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
6
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
7
Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. tove.fall@medsci.uu.se.

Abstract

Dogs may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity. We aimed to investigate the association of dog ownership with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death in a register-based prospective nation-wide cohort (n = 3,432,153) with up to 12 years of follow-up. Self-reported health and lifestyle habits were available for 34,202 participants in the Swedish Twin Register. Time-to-event analyses with time-updated covariates were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). In single- and multiple-person households, dog ownership (13.1%) was associated with lower risk of death, HR 0.67 (95% CI, 0.65-0.69) and 0.89 (0.87-0.91), respectively; and CVD death, HR 0.64 (0.59-0.70), and 0.85 (0.81-0.90), respectively. In single-person households, dog ownership was inversely associated with cardiovascular outcomes (HR composite CVD 0.92, 95% CI, 0.89-0.94). Ownership of hunting breed dogs was associated with lowest risk of CVD. Further analysis in the Twin Register could not replicate the reduced risk of CVD or death but also gave no indication of confounding by disability, comorbidities or lifestyle factors. In conclusion, dog ownership appears to be associated with lower risk of CVD in single-person households and lower mortality in the general population.

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