Owning a pet is good for your heart, and owning a dog is best of all, according to a study reported in a Mayo Clinic journal.

The conclusion was drawn from a study of more than 2,000 people in Brno, Czech Republic, from January 2013 through December 2014 and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovation, Quality & Outcomes. It was summarized for non-journal readers in a Mayo Clinic news release.

The study compared cardiovascular health of pet owners participating in the study with those who didn't own pets, and then compared dog owners to other pet owners.

“In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,” said Andrea Maugeri, a researcher based in Czechoslovakia and Italy. “The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.”

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