(WKRC) -- Those of us who have dogs know the emotional benefits they give us, but what about in terms of your health? It turns out your pup may be literally saving your life.
A new study published in Scientific Reports showed owning a dog came with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The team of Swedish scientists followed 3.4 million people between the ages of 40 and 80 over 12 years. They found adults living alone with a dog were 33 percent less likely to die during the course of the study than adults living alone without a dog. And those with a dog were 36 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular disease. Dog owners were also 11 percent less likely to have a heart attack.
Adults who didn't live alone but who also owned dogs also had a slightly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The study suggests the reduced risk partly comes from dog owners being more likely to walk on a regular basis. Increased social well-being and a strengthened immune system from dogs bringing different bacteria into your home were also factors.
The study is the largest one to date to measure the relationship between health and dog-ownership.