By Hamilton Nolan, Gawker

Well, it’s more or less official now: Owning a dog is great for your heart health. (Unless that dog is Herbert, the asshole dog that tried to bite me when I nicely volunteered to walk him. Fuck you, Herbert.)

This is not just some anecdotal, feel-good, who’s a good boy you are you are yes you are bullshit. This is from the American Heart Association, which released a landmark new statement yesterday saying, sure, hey, seems to be that dogs are good for your heart, more or less. Specifically, pet owners “tended to report greater amounts of physical activity, and modestly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Some research showed that people who had pets of any kind were also more likely to survive heart attacks.”

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This obviously does not apply to cats, who will try to smother you in your sleep out of pure disdain.

Why are dogs so great for your ticker, mister? Is it just because they drag your fat ass outside to walk them, thereby forcing you to get your only daily exercise? Or is there something more to the dog-human connection? We’re not (officially) “heart doctors” or even “whatever the scientist is that studies about animals,” but we have a few pretty good ideas.

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1. Dogs will catch any wayward frisbees before they strike you in the heart.

2. Dogs will eat that old pepperoni stick you found on the sidewalk before you get a chance to eat it, saving you from harmful fats and preservatives.

2. Look in your dog’s eyes— he knows things. (About heart health?)

There may be other reasons.

This article was written by Hamilton Nolan and published in Gawker on May 10, 2013. Photo by sally anscombe/Flickr. 

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