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Dog ownership is associated with better cardiovascular health (mayoclinic.org)
47 points by EndXA 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

They mean healthy people are more likely to afford a dog?

Unlike many questions where we ponder Judea Pearl’s do-operator, there is nothing unethical about a trial randomizing people to dogs. (Assuming the people have been vetted.)

Idk who would participate in that study. Either people want a dog and get one or they don't want and don't get one. Don't think people would like a diceroll making the decision for them.

The article seems to indicate that they established a socio-economic baseline: "The study first established baseline health and socio-economic information on more than 2,000 subjects"

Ok, let's detach it from money. Something like "healthy people are more likely to have time for dogs".

My point is correlation != causation.

I’m in Norway. Why might I be getting this?


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Same here

So people with good cardiovascular health are buying pet dogs?

As far as I can tell this study didn't look at any association with cardiovascular health outcomes, but rather with a "CVH score" that incorporates various risk factors. Unless I'm missing something, the bottom line seems to be that non-dog-owners have a CVH score of 9, while dog owners have a CVH score of 10 (despite being the group most likely to smoke). I have no idea how that translates into a difference in probability/rate/severity of cardiovascular events.

Because you literally have to take dogs out for a walk every day...

Is this supposed to be a surprise?

Dog owner here. Can confirm.

Everyday at his walking time, my dog starts poking me, then barking, then the destructive behavior kicks in if I don't do my job. After his exercise, he's a good boy for the rest of the day.

Counterpoint: All the people around me that have dogs that bark from their patio / roof / balcony all day and never get to leave the house shows how easy it is to neglect the beast.

It's not the dog making you walk it, it's because you have to be a decent human in the first place which sometimes feels like a scarce resource.

The ugly percentge of pet owners must be minority, but the number of feckless dog owners is huge. I will absolutely put your dogs turd in your open window when you leave it on the street for me to step in. I do this nearly weekly. Some dog owners give you all a terrible imge to the rest of us.

What breed ia the dog? Terrier?

I was wondering as well. Unless it's a super active breed (e.g. border collie), the dog ought to be able to handle missing an evening walk (and even then, if they are well trained, they can handle it now and then). Dogs have a strict hierarchy, and the demanding, destructive behavior mentioned by the GP suggests the dog thinks he's pack leader and his owner is his subordinate. If so, destructive behavior when missing a walk won't be the only problem in the long run.

We train and board semi-professionally. We've got two huskies we try to walk twice a day in addition to training and play time. The dogs learn to yield to humans and to deal with their own emotions (e.g. boredom). We have two huskies we try to walk twice a day in addition to training and play time, but if we miss a walk, they wouldn't dream of acting out. They can 'ask' us for things, but if we say no, that's it.

He's a German Shepherd. Yes, I can get away with missing a single session, but he will be a pest about it, doing stuff like stealing my shoes or intentionally spilling his water bowl. If I make him sit or down to behave, he'll do it, but I'll get big, deep sighs and grumbles.

He is better than a personal trainer about keeping me on his routine. And he is a better dog after he's got his run in. Dogs love routines and are better pets when feel like they have a job to do.

My step count today is 16,400, and my dog's is either the same or else double that, depending on how you count it

Spoken like someone from the city or the suburbs.

In the sticks where I grew up, dogs run loose in fenced in yards or do whatever they want when there’s not a fence. Everybody had a dog and nobody “walked” them.

When I was a kid, a typical day in the country for a dog could look something like this: 1) Go find something horrendous (e.g. dead animal, cow manure, or compost) and roll around on it awhile and then show off the new perfume to local dog friends, 2) Scare a squirrel or two, 3) Wait by the road a bit and chase any vehicles that dare turn into the drive, 4) Scout property boundaries, while liberally marking trees/fence posts/bushes and barking at any would-be trespassers, and then finally 7) Come home smelling truly repulsive, while expecting to be petted and fed.

I grew up in a rural setting as well, and I distinctly remember walking with my dogs.

There’s a lot of rural settings. I didn’t say we were neighbors lol.

I literally never heard about this and I am pretty curious. How does a dog behave if you don't have a fence and let them roam?

Never heard of a dog running free outside? So strange to me! I grew up with a pet dog. She wasn't allowed in the house, and mostly just ran around our unfenced property (we lived on an acre fairly rurally), and probably off it to some extent, but I'm not really sure. She had a food bowl that we'd keep filled, and water. She'd often run up to us when we were outside, and we'd pet her and she'd wag her tail. Then she'd either follow us around until we went back inside or drove away, or she'd just wander off on her own.

I remember thinking it was so weird and gross when I first heard about people letting their dogs inside!

this is how i grew up as well, rural setting with a (big) dog (or two) that roamed our property (the boundaries of which they more-or-less knew). however they're pack animals and would rather be with their humans, so they usually stayed close to the house, but sometimes they get bored and chase something in the grass or in the wind or whatever, and come back later.

i now live in an urban area and walk my (little) dog at least twice a day, which gives us both exercise (5+ miles/day), and she seems pretty content with the amount of outdoor time she gets.

Similar but we always had at least 2 dogs. My dad would it's not right for them to not have a buddy to hang out with since they couldn't come in the house with us.

Like...a dog? Curious what other behaviors you think they might exhibit. They hang around the house, or you if you're outside, and nap on the porch. If you're worried they'll run off, they may chase after an animal that mistakenly ventures in, but otherwise they stay in their territory with their people, and walk around the property doing dog things.

Also note that in these contexts there are "inside dogs" and "outside dogs" depending on if they get let into the house or not.

>Also note that in these contexts there are "inside dogs" and "outside dogs" depending on if they get let into the house or not.

Yes, I had for years an "outside" dog and an "inside" one, the funny thing is how they divided their competence for "alarm", the outside one would bark if anyone arrived within earing distance, then would stop barking when the car or truck actually arrived, and immediately the inside one will take where the former left.

Still there was a small area on the side of the house that was "free", the outside dog somehow believed it was not (anymore) his business, and the inside one thought it wasn't (yet) his.

Amazingly, they understand property boundaries as well as a surveyor. I was always astounded at the farm dogs I knew that would run up to the property line and bark at whatever, but not cross. They have an amazing sense for picking up territory cues from their owners.

Head of security, bringer of cows at milking time, and announcer of arriving delivery trucks. No proper farm can do without.

>They have an amazing sense for picking up territory cues from their owners.

Seems to me like something a powerful sense of smell would make trivial. A dog can instantly detect the points past which its human pack members never venture.

They just get out and run, get into fights with other dogs, harass cats etc. Dog stuff. It really depends on the dog's temperament. There are dog's that are too scared to get out of their yard. If you've got a hunting breed it will probably get out and run. When we throw a garden party, the dog becomes less interested in going for a stroll, it would rather join the party. It's a fox terrier mixed breed. Very smart dog. You can fool it once, but then you have to get creative.

They get skunked/quilled every other week.

That is a pretty daft dog.

I grew up in a rural area with a decent amount of land. We did both. Our dog was walked and he was allowed out on his own. We played with him off leash a lot too.

Likewise, cardiovascular health is probably strongly correlated with how recently you checked your bicycle tyre pressure.

I think that there are also endocrinal responses you get from interacting with dogs that might make you more relaxed.

100% My dog cuddles me for 15 min before bed every night and I can feel the relaxation swell over me almost instantaneously. Must be kind of like oxytocin.

>rescue or purchase a pet as a potential strategy to improve their cardiovascular health as long as pet ownership led them to a more physically active lifestyle

I wonder if they tried to correlate this with the dog breed. I don't see it mentioned in TFA.

Reports like this are useless without stats on how big of a difference it made.

I wonder if dog ownership also correlates with lower reproduction rates.

Yes, some owners have their dog sterilized.

I mean the owner.

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