High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 245–253 | Cite as

Pet Ownership and the Risk of Dying from Cardiovascular Disease Among Adults Without Major Chronic Medical Conditions

  • Imala Ogechi
  • Kassandra Snook
  • Bionca M. Davis
  • Andrew R. Hansen
  • Fengqi Liu
  • Jian Zhang
Original Article

Abstract

Introduction

In a recent statement, the American Heart Association stated “There are scant data on pet ownership and survival in people without established cardiovascular disease (CVD)”. This study sought to fill this gap.

Methods

We analyzed nationally representative data of 3964 adults aged ≥50 who were free from major physical illnesses. Pet ownership was assessed at baseline between 1988 and 1994. Vital status was followed through December 31st 2006.

Results

With dogs being most popular pets owned by 22.0 (standard error 0.34) % of the participants, 34.6 % of the study population owned a pet. Pet ownership was associated with low rates of CVD deaths [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.69 (95 % CI 0.45–1.07)] and stroke [0.54 (0.28–1.01)] at borderline significant levels among women. These associations were adjusted for physical activity and largely attributed to having a cat rather than a dog. Among cat owners, the HR of all CVD deaths was 0.62 (0.36–1.05) and the HR of dying from stroke was 0.22 (0.07–0.68) compared with non-cat owners. The corresponding HRs among dog owners were 0.82 (0.51–1.34) and 0.76 (0.34–1.71) respectively. No similar associations were observed among men. The hazard of dying from hypertension was not associated with pet ownership for both men and women.

Conclusions

Owning a cat rather than a dog was significantly associated with a reduced hazard of dying from CVD events, in particular, stroke. The protection pets confer may not be from physical activities, but possibly due to personality of the pet owners or stress-relieving effects of animal companionship.

Keywords

Exercise Follow-up studies Mortality Pet ownership NHANES 

Supplementary material

40292_2016_156_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)

References

  1. 1.
    Pet Ownership: Data from APPMA’s 2005/2006 National Pet Owners Survey. American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc, 2006, Industry Statistics & Trends.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Friedmann E, Thomas SA. Pet ownership, social support, and one-year survival after acute myocardial infarction in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST). Am J Cardiol. 1995;76:1213–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Friedmann E, Thomas SA, Stein PK, Kleiger RE. Relation between pet ownership and heart rate variability in patients with healed myocardial infarcts. Am J Cardiol. 2003;91:718–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Friedmann E, Thomas SA, Son H. Pets, depression and long term survival in community living patients following myocardial infarction. Anthrozoos. 2011;24:273–85.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Levine GN, Allen K, Braun LT, et al. Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;127:2353–63.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gillum RF, Obisesan TO. Living with companion animals, physical activity and mortality in a U.S. national cohort. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010;7:2452–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Demelloa LR. The effect of the presence of a companion-animal on physiological changes following the termination of cognitive stressors. Psychol Health. 1999;14(5):859–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wright JD, Kritz-Silverstein D, Morton DJ, Wingard DL, Barrett-Connor E. Pet ownership and blood pressure in old age. Epidemiology. 2007;18:613–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Parker GB, Gayed A, Owen CA, Hyett MP, Hilton TM, Heruc GA. Survival following an acute coronary syndrome: a pet theory put to the test. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010;121:65–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Moody WJ, Fenwick DC, Blackshaw JK. Pitfalls of studies designed to test the effect pets have on the cardiovascular parameters of their owners in the home situation: a pilot study. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 1996;47(1-2):127–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Parslow RA, Jorm AF. Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease: another look. Med J Aust. 2003;179:466–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Anderson WP. The benefits of pet ownership. Med J Aust. 1996;164:441–2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Allen K, Shykoff BE, Izzo JL Jr. Pet ownership, but not ace inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress. Hypertension. 2001;38:815–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Aiba N, Hotta K, Yokoyama M, et al. Usefulness of pet ownership as a modulator of cardiac autonomic imbalance in patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia. Am J Cardiol. 2012;109:1164–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yusuf S, Reddy S, Ounpuu S, Anand S. Global burden of cardiovascular diseases: part I: general considerations, the epidemiologic transition, risk factors, and impact of urbanization. Circulation. 2001;104:2746–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carson AP, Williams LB, Hill AN. Physical activity in diabetes: is any better than none? J Diabetes Complicat. 2014;28:257–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brown RE, Riddell MC, Macpherson AK, Canning KL, Kuk JL. All-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk in U.S. adults with and without type 2 diabetes: Influence of physical activity, pharmacological treatment and glycemic control. J Diabetes Complicat. 2014;28:311–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lainscak M, Farkas J, Frantal S, et al. Self-rated health, nutritional intake and mortality in adult hospitalized patients. Eur J Clin Invest. 2014;44:813–24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Khang YH, Kim HR. Gender differences in self-rated health and mortality association: role of pain-inducing musculoskeletal disorders. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010;19:109–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division USCB. How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty (Official Measure); 2009.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bloom B, Cohen RA, Freeman G Summary. Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2008. Vital Health Stat. 2009;10:1–81.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zhang J, Mckeown RE, Hussey JR, Thompson SJ, Woods JR. Gender differences in risk factors for attempted suicide among young adults: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Ann Epidemiol. 2005;15:167–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    National Center for Health Statistics. Office of Analysis and Epidemiology. Mortality follow-up through 2006: matching methodology. The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) Linked Mortality File. Hyattsville; 2009.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Klein JP, Andersen PK. Regression modeling of competing risks data based on pseudovalues of the cumulative incidence function. Biometrics. 2005;61:223–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lin GX, So Y, Johnston G. Analyzing survival data with competing risks using SAS® Software. SAS Global Forum 2012 Statistics and Data Analysis. SAS Institute Inc; 2012.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zhang J, Yan F, Li Y, McKeown RE. Body mass index and suicidal behaviors: a critical review of epidemiological evidence. J Affect Disord. 2013;148:147–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gray RJ. A class of K-sample tests for comparing the cumulative incidence of a competing risk. Ann Stat. 1988;16(3):1141–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cutt H, Giles-Corti B, Knuiman M, Burke V. Dog ownership, health and physical activity: a critical review of the literature. Health Place. 2007;13:261–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nonfatal fall related injuries associated with dogs and cats–United States, 2001–2006. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58:277–81.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Qureshi AI, Memon MZ, Vazquez G, Suri MF. Cat ownership and the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases. Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study. J Vasc Interv Neurol. 2009;2:132–5.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Cohen S, Hoberman HM. Positive events and social supports as buffers of life change stress. J Appl Soc Psychol. 1983;13(2):99–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Bernstein PL, Friedmann E, Malaspina A. Animal-assisted therapy enhances resident social interaction and initiation in long-term care facilities. Anthrozoos. 2000;13(4):213-24.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hart LA, Zasloff RL, Bryson S, Christensen SL. The role of police dogs as companions and working partners. Psychol Rep. 2000;86:190–202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Salmon J, Timperio A, Chu B, Veitch J. Dog ownership, dog walking, and children’s and parents’ physical activity. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2010;81:264–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Zasloff RL, Kidd AH. Loneliness and pet ownership among single women. Psychol Rep. 1994;75:747–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Barker SB, Wolen AR. The benefits of human-companion animal interaction: a review. J Vet Med Educ. 2008;35:487–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Banks MR, Banks WA. The effects of animal-assisted therapy on loneliness in an elderly population in long-term care facilities. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002;57:M428–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Goldmeier J. Pets or people: another research note. Gerontologist. 1986;26:203–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Garrity TF, Stallones LMMB, Johnson TP. Pet ownership and attachment as supportive factors in the health of the elderly. Anthrozoos. 1989;3(1):35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    McEwen LN, Kim C, Haan M, et al. Diabetes reporting as a cause of death. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:247–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imala Ogechi
    • 1
  • Kassandra Snook
    • 1
  • Bionca M. Davis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew R. Hansen
    • 3
  • Fengqi Liu
    • 4
  • Jian Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyJiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUnited States
  2. 2.Coordinating Centers for Biometric Research, Division of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Community Health Behavior and EducationJiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUnited States
  4. 4.Charlie Norwood VA Medical CenterAugustaUSA

Personalised recommendations