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If you're single, get a dog — it could make you live longer
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
A huge study out of Sweden provides some major fodder for your "pro" column about getting a dog.  Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden found that dog owners have better cardiovascular health compared to those without pooches — and live longer. SEE ALSO: This fancy pop-up sushi bar for dogs proves we're now subservient to our pets The research published Friday in the Scientific Reports journal looked at benefits of dog ownership and found the friendly pets may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, other health problems, and  even death.  Even more telling was the reduced death risk for those living alone. Single? Get a dog to stave off death. "Being a single has previously been reported as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and it seems that a dog may be able to neutralize this over-risk," said Tove Fall, one of the scientists on the study from the Department of Medical science at Uppsala University. The odds for a healthier life were also in favor of those who had a hunting breed dog, like terriers and retrievers. So what's so magical about dogs?  Well, the researchers don't claim to know what it is exactly about dogs, but the pets seem to make for better lifestyle choices and happier moods. All that could translate to a longer life. As with any study, there's always the chance that people who are drawn to dogs already have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if they are active people. The study findings aren't that earth-shattering, but the length and scope of the study boosts the research. More than 3.4 million Swedes were part of the research and data from different national registries was examined over a 12-year period. That's a solid sample size and a huge amount of time spent on this. Even if the results are more scientifically sound than other studies out there, it doesn't change that research about the health benefits of dogs is endless.  In just the past few weeks studies came out about how dogs "could help patients with HIV live longer," "improve health and wellbeing of older war veterans," and "may lower risk of childhood eczema, reduce asthma symptoms." A Harvard Medical School health article from last year about the benefits of dog ownership included physiological boosts.  "When you feel securely attached to this living being, there are biological brain effects that reduce stress response, so it may affect your breathing rate or blood pressure or oxygen consumption or anxiety level," Dr. Greg Fricchione, associate chief of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in the article. Who are we kidding — you were going to get a dog whether this study came out or not. Just make sure you adopt your new best friend from a shelter, please.  WATCH: Dog owners will love this puppy paw cleaner read more
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