(CNN) – Not every dog can be a lifesaver like Lassie, but according to new research, owning a dog can reduce the chances of dying early.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association combed through 70 years of research, involving nearly four million people in several countries. They found owning a dog was linked to a 24-percent reduction in all mortality causes.
For people who suffered a heart attack or stroke, having a four-legged companion reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 31-percent.
A second study that also found people who owned dogs had better health outcomes after suffering a stroke or heart attack.
It’s unclear exactly what the link is, but there are guesses. for instance, increased activity.
The American Heart Association points to a study that found pet owners who walk their dogs get 30 more minutes of exercise per day than those who don’t walk.
Other studies have found that just petting a dog or having a canine companion can reduce your blood pressure and reduce anxiety and depression.