Your heart’s best friend: A canine companion?

These popular pets have been linked to a range of heart-related benefits.

Seeing a dog's wagging tail and furry face can be heartwarming. But living with and caring for a dog may be heart-protecting — and might even help you live longer, according to a growing body of research.

The latest findings include two articles published last year in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. One pooled findings from 10 studies involving a total of 3.8 million people who were followed between one and 22 years. Dog owners were 31% less likely to die from a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular condition than people who didn't own dogs. A separate study, which followed more than 335,000 heart attack and stroke survivors over 12 years, found that having a dog was linked to a 21% lower risk of death from any cause.

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