It's True: Dogs Help You Live Longer

(Dog photos help too.)

Yes, it's true.

That spark of joy you feel whenever you see Fido can genuinely give you life, as dogs actually do help you live longer. A new study from the American Heart Association's Circulation Journal used 70 years of research and 10 studies to conclude that dog owners live roughly 24% longer than non-dog-owners.

One of the studies found that just petting a dog can have the same effect on blood pressure as some medication. Another study found that people who suffered a heart attack were 33% less likely to die after leaving the hospital if they owned a dog, and yet another placed that number at 65%. In the end, the studies collectively proposed that it's likely that dog owners live longer because they have better cardiovascular health overall—all those walks pay off in the end. Also, people who own dogs tend to be more social, another factor that can contribute to health and happiness. And apparently owning a dog can expose you to more bacteria, thus boosting humans' immune systems against diseases.

Some of us dog-owners have known for a long time that our pups add an invaluable amount of joy to our daily lives. Still, it's not a good idea to get a dog unless you can take care of it and give it a good life. Maybe it's not possible for you to have a dog right now. Fortunately, research has shown that looking at images of cute animals can improve focus and relieve stress—and the Internet is more than happy to provide those.

So, here's your daily dose of serotonin...

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