New research is showing what dog owners already know - having a dog is good for your heart! But it's more than just those warm and fuzzy feelings; having a dog might actually improve heart health.
In 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific statement based on its review of data about people and their pets (including many studies of dog owners) and concluded that pet ownership is probably associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and can be a reasonable part of an overall strategy to lower the risk of heart disease.
Studies have also shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-owners, which could be because dogs have a calming effect on owners. This calming effect helps people handle stress, and experience less cardiovascular reactivity during times of stress. Dog owners also tend to get more exercise because they have to take their dog out for walks.