Next time someone accuses you of being “dramatic” for saying you “can’t live without your dog” ― we give you permission to show them this report. The results are more delightful than belly rubs and wet nose boops combined.
A new scientific review, which encompasses about 70 years of research surrounding the health benefits of dog ownership, showed that having a dog can improve your longevity. The findings were published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal.
According to 10 studies included in the review, dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of death compared to non-ownership, with six studies showing “significant reduction in the risk of death.”
In one instance, simply petting a dog was found to have the same effect on blood pressure as medication, CNN reported.
The new review reflected 2013 findings that dog ownership is “probably associated” with decreased cardiovascular disease risk, likely thanks to the fact that dog owners engage in more physical activity like taking their dog on walks.
So does this mean we should all run out and adopt doggos, throwing all caution (and our bank statements) to the wind? Not totally. The findings are not fully conclusive and there are some limitations with the research.
The review’s authors mentioned in the analysis that some of the studies only featured small sample sizes, so the results are not totally indicative of the larger population. Some of the studies also did not take into account a number of other factors, like body mass index, smoking status and diet.
However, the review states that dog ownership is associated with “all-cause mortality possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality.” So while more work needs to be done, we’re more than okay with taking this news as at least a light suggestion.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.