female pet parents are less likely to die of stroke

female pet parents are less likely to die of stroke
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Jul 07 2016


You know that your pet is good for your soul, and every year we’re finding more and more reasons why your pet is also good for your health! The latest buzz is specifically for women pet parents.

Researchers found that women over 50 years old who have cats or dogs are less likely to die from cardiovascular events, like strokes. This good news doesn’t translate to male pet owners for some reason, but for female pet parents, the difference is staggering: their risk of dying from a cardiovascular event is 40% lower than women who don’t have dogs or cats.

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The study was conducted using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, in which 4,000 generally healthy adults over 50 years old submitted answers to questions about their physical activity, weight and other health risk factors.


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Even if you’re not a member of the “fairer sex,” owning a cat or dog still has positive effects on your physical and emotional health. The list of benefits that have been studied is long (and growing!). It includes:

  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced cholesterol and triglycerides
  • decreased feelings of loneliness
  • reduced number of doctor visits
  • increased social behavior in adults
  • increased confidence in children without siblings
  • increased social behavior in children with autism
  • reduced incidence of allergies in children
  • reduced risk of asthma in children
  • increased exercise and lower obesity rates
  • reduced stress
  • increased quality of sleep
  • reduced anxiety in children and adults
  • prolonged ability to participate in “activities of daily living” in the elderly


Many of these benefits also apply for people who are around pets for a short amount of time. We've seen dramatic results from therapy dogs who visit hospitalized patients and the elderly in nursing homes. Even just being with a pet for this short time reduced pain and anxiety in both children and adults and left nursing home patients feeling less lonely.

Any way you slice it, whether you are male or female, old or young, having a dog or cat is surely benefiting your body as well as your soul. And you thought you couldn’t love your four-legged family member more than you already did.

For more information on the benefits of pets for senior adults, visit the National Council For Aging Care.

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