(WATE) – Dog owners, good news – dogs could add years to your life, according to new research from The University of Toronto.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 4 million people across six countries.
They found that dog owners had a lowered risk of dying early by 24%.
For heart attack survivors who live alone and own a dog, the risk of dying was lowered by 33%. Dog ownership was also associated with a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke when compared to non-dog owners.
The key? Walking your canine companion. Researchers behind the study believe a major factor could be that pet owners generally walk their dogs – getting up to 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Studies also show that petting dogs can reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression.