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Owning a dog can provide happiness, comfort, a source of physical activity, and much more.

According to the results, single dog owners had a 33% reduction in the risk of premature death and 11% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to single non-owners. "As a pet owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather". "In the Swedish system, we can trace people from birth to death", epidemiologist Tove Fall told Newsweek.

Having a dog in the home substantially reduces the risk of heart attacks and other fatal conditions, a major study has shown. They were also 11% less likely to have a heart attack, an effect that is not shown among people who live with others and is nearly certainly attributable to our children's leftover french fries. It said owning a dog cuts down the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 36 per cent for people that live alone. "The mechanism is not definitively pinned down, but I think those are all plausible reasons why owning a dog might not only be associated with better heart health but have some causative role". "Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households", said Mwenya Mubanga, researcher at the Uppsala University in Sweden.

The study can not explain how dogs have a health-boosting impact, but the company alone may reduce stress and motivate people to live healthier lifestyles.

An interesting finding, though purely correlative, was that dogs belonging to breeds originally selected for hunting offered the most protection, the authors reported in Scientific Reports.

Fall says the study's results can be generalized to the entire Swedish population, and likely to other European countries with similar living standards and culture regarding dog ownership. As a result, the researchers posit, dog owners went out more and had added more social interaction than those without dogs.

Wolf-Klein believes that whatever the reasons behind the health benefit shown in the study, adopting a furry companion from a nearby shelter might be just what the doctor ordered.

Fall plans on digging into how exactly dogs might affect their owners in future studies, including evaluating how the bacteria in a dog owner's gut might differ from people living in a pet-free house, and how a canine medical crisis might affect an owner's health.

While Bond may not prescribe a dog as treatment for a patient, she said that she will not discourage owning or buying one, or expressing the benefits of owning one.