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It's no surprise that having a pet can make you happy.
Their adorable face, unbridled energy and desire to be your companion would naturally be a boost to your mental and physical health.
But now it's been confirmed that dogs help extend your life, according to a new study. Researchers at the American Heart Association discovered that owning a dog can be really beneficial to you.
The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, reported: "Dog ownership was associated with a 33 per cent lower risk of early death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27 per cent reduced risk of early death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.
"Dog ownership was associated with a 24 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31 per cent lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners."
They also weren't skimpy when it came to case studies either. Researchers got data from a whopping four million people from six countries to come to this conclusion, so you know they're backing it up with facts.
Glenn N. Levine, M.D., chair of the writing group of the American Heart Association's scientific statement on pet ownership has released a statement explaining what they found.
"These two studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality," Dr Levine wrote. "While these non-randomized studies cannot 'prove' that adopting or owning a dog directly leads to reduced mortality, these robust findings are certainly at least suggestive of this."
The researchers believed owning a dog was particularly good for your heart health because of the physical activity involved in walking or playing with an animal.
In addition to that, having a companion when you're alone can help you live longer.
Tove Fall, D. V. M., professor at Uppsala University in Sweden added: "We know that social isolation is a strong risk factor for worse health outcomes and premature death. Previous studies have indicated that dog owners experience less social isolation and have more interaction with other people.
"Furthermore, keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity, which is an important factor in rehabilitation and mental health."
So if you were considering getting an animal as a pet then you might want to lean towards a dog because this study reckons you'll have more years left on the clock as a result.
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