​​​​​​​Owning a dog may lower your risk of an early death

Dog ownership is "protective against dying of any cause" and is associated with a 24% reduction in mortality, according to a new study.

The review, published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), spanned more than 70 years of research and included almost four million people from several major countries.

A separate study also found that people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or stroke.

Although both studies are observational and would require a clinical trial to be proven, the AHA marks the findings as significant.

While these non-randomised studies cannot "prove" that owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this, according to the AHA's scientific statement on pet ownership.

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