Dog Gone It

By Jim Elder, Financial Editor

[October 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]

Living a long, active, and fulfilling life is a goal for most of us. We spend a large portion of our life to help extend our life span.

In an attempt to stretch those years, we try a large laundry list of activities. We change our diets and eating habits. We exercise more by jogging or working out in the gym. We watch what we drink. We do whatever we believe will help us live to a ripe old age. All of those activities help us inch further along the chronological calendar.

You quit smoking; you gain six years of life expectancy. You lose 30 pounds, and you gain four more years. Lower your cholesterol, and you add another three years. After awhile, there are diminishing returns. WE can only live so long before we reach our demise. There is one factor that we haven’t thought of that would help. That is, to get a dog.

A recent study suggests that owning a dog is linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death. Researchers used demographic data on 3.4 million people ages 40 to 80, and across various factors, such as sex, marital status, and income.

The study found owning a dog was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of death and a 23 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. When you own a dog, you need to feed, bathe, walk, and play with your pooch. You get more exercise, and you have a responsibility to take care of man’s best friend. When you come home from shopping, they are always glad to greet you.

According to the study, owning a dog is good motivation to get out and exercise, and may provide some social support. However, owning a dog isn’t for everyone. Don’t give a dog to your grandmother in the hope that she’ll live longer.

Please remember when you extend your life span, it will have an adverse effect on your finances. So, make sure that you meet with your financial advisor to assure you have enough money to last your years.