Okay everyone; it’s finally official. Living with a furry bundle of joy is great for your heart health!

According to a statement issued by the American Heart Association, living with a pet (especially a dog) has found to be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

“People who own dogs certainly have more reason to get outside and take walks, and studies show that most owners form such close bonds with their pets that being in their presence blunts the owners’ reactions to stress and lowers their heart rate,” said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, from the American Heart Association.

The statement takes into account research showing benefits of living with a dog on heart health. For example, people who have dogs get 54 percent more exercise than pet-free people and pets can help lower stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity.

However, Dr. Levine did clarify that he and his colleagues were not recommending that people adopt pets for any reason other than to give them a good home.

“If someone adopts a pet, but still sits on the couch and smokes and eats whatever they want and doesn’t control their blood pressure,” he said, “that’s not a prudent strategy to decrease their cardiovascular risk.” Prudent, indeed!

So what are you waiting for? Still need more reasons to adopt a pet? When you’re ready, here’s how you can get started!

Image Source: Allen Skyy/Flickr