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Young woman and happy dog | Canyon Falls, TX

11 October . 2019

Love a dog, live a longer life

Being a dog person could extend your life, with a 24% reduction for death from any cause, according to a new study published in “Circulation,” a journal of the American Heart Association.

That’s especially true for people who live in a community like Canyon Falls, with amenities like the Pooch Park and miles of trails that encourage residents to get out and enjoy the life-extending benefits of exercise with their dogs.

“Our analysis found that having a dog is actually protector against dying of any cause,” said Dr. Caroline Kramer, an endocrinologist with Mount Sinai Hospital and lead author of the study.

The landmark meta-analysis looked at 10 studies published in the past 70 years, with data from more than 3 million participants in the United States and other countries.

The analysis concluded that dog owners were likely to live longer than people without dogs, with dog owners enjoying a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause. People with heart problems had an even greater benefit, with a 31% reduced risk.

A big part of the life-saving benefit was traced to the increased physical activity that comes from owning a dog. Walking a dog 20 to 30 minutes a day helps people meet the AHA’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

Dogs also help people manage stress and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation, the study concluded.

A separate study published in “Circulation” found that people who owned dogs had better outcomes after suffering a heart attack or stroke. Dog owners who lived along got the greatest benefit, with a 33% lower risk of death.

Other studies have suggested that people with dogs have a better cholesterol profile and lower blood pressure. “One study, my favorite, found just the effect of petting a dog can reduce your blood pressure as much as medication,” said Kramer.

Dogs and their people love Canyon Falls, which offers amenities like the Pooch Park and miles of trails. Residents and their four-legged family members also enjoy events such as Yappy Hour and the annual Fallapalooza, which includes the DFW Lab Rescue’s Run for Retrievers 5K fundraiser.