Dogs

"Wanna go for a walk?" It's the question that no doubt gets your dog's heart pumping, but the act itself gets yours pumping, too, to the benefit of your health.

That's according to a new study published by Mayo Clinic that revealed that people who own pets -- but especially dogs -- are more likely to have better heart health.

"It's very difficult not to increase the level of activity after you get a pet, in particular, a dog … It makes more sense…they move around. They force us to be active," Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, study author and chair of the Division of Preventative Cardiology at Mayo Clinic, told ABC News in an interview. "Dog-ownership increases the well-being of an individual ... It helps improve people's physical activity, mood, social life, and diet."

Another author of the study, Dr. José Medina-Inojosa, agrees. "The behavior of that pet [a dog] is what gives the benefit. Can't walk a fish! And you ride the horse, not walk it," Medina-Inojosa, research associate of the Division of Preventative Cardiology, Mayo Clinic, told ABC News. "Dogs make us go out more often, at least once or twice a day, if not more. And usually more than a few minutes."

Another benefit, according to Lopez-Jimenez? "[S]tudies have shown owning a dog actually increases social life. People are more likely to talk to others who have dogs."

It doesn't stop there. "Dog owners are more likely to have healthier diets," Lopez-Jimenez said. "You have someone waiting for you. It increases well-being and improves moods..."

"This study builds on other evidence that shows dog-owners are less likely to be depressed...The [new] heart findings just add that owning a dog may bring a lot of wellness," Lopez-Jimenez added.

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