Dog owners live longer

A Swedish study published in Scientific Reports suggests that owning a dog is linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death.

Researchers used demographic data on 3.4 million Swedes ages 40 to 80. In Sweden, all dogs are registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture and identified by number with an ear tattoo or a subcutaneous chip.

Anyone with a record of cardiovascular disease before the 12-year study began was excluded, and the researchers controlled for age, sex, marital status, income and other factors. Owning a dog was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of all-cause death and a 23 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The effect was stronger with certain breeds, particularly pointers and retrievers. The senior author, Tove Fall, an epidemiologist at Uppsala University, suggested that this may reflect different kinds of owners: picture the owner of a Labrador retriever, and then one with a Pomeranian.

“Owning a dog is good motivation to get out and exercise and may provide some social support,” Fall said. But the study does not prove cause and effect, and in any case, “not everyone is up to owning a dog,” he added.

New York Times

The cat came back

A cat who survived recent California wildfires has been returned to his family — 10 years after he disappeared.

A microchip was his way back home. Pilot was found with severe burns and taken to Petcare Veterinary Hospital in Santa Rosa. A microchip scan turned up the name of his owners, who said he disappeared in 2007, three years after they acquired him as a kitten. They had searched for him for months, then given up. A few years later, they moved to Colorado, with no expectation of ever seeing their cat again. Owner Jennifer Leigh Thompson flew out to California to retrieve Pilot, and now he’s home recuperating from his injuries.

Pet Connection