Dog owners on average have better cholesterol profiles, lower blood pressure, aren't overweight and are more physically active. And pretty much all of that is down to having to walk the dog several times a day.
The benefits of dog ownership were underlined by a survey of 1,769 people, aged from 24 to 64, who didn't have heart disease. Of these, 42 percent had a pet, and 24 percent of those had a dog.
The pet owners were more physically active and ate a healthier diet, say researchers from the University of Catania in Italy, and this was especially the case for those who had a dog.
Around 29 percent of the dog owners were obese, compared with 37 percent of those who didn't have a dog.
But it may not be just down to walking the dog. Earlier studies have found that owning a pet is calming, reduces anxiety and keeps blood pressure at healthy levels.