Pets are an absolute blessing for us. They can cheer you up when you’re feeling sad or when you come home tired. But then you open the door and that little fur ball is there emanating pure love and happiness and suddenly your day is better.

Animals are much more intelligent than we think. And I claim that both my dog and my cat realize when I’m happy or sad. That’s how it feels, at least to me. However, the question is what does it says about yourself if you are a pet owner. I’ve never really thought about that, I’ll admit – but earlier today I encountered some researchers.

A study published on the American Heart Association’s journal suggests that most people who own dogs tend to live a better, longer life. The research, called ‘Dog Ownership and Survival,’ actually includes ten studies lead between 1950 and May 2019, on more than three million participants. Its main purpose was to evaluate dog ownership and its correlation to longevity.

According to the study, those who own a dog showed a 24% risk reduction for death from any causes, the USA Today reports. More than that, for people with heart problems, living with a pup had even greater benefits. Petting a dog was found to have exactly the same effect on blood pressure just as medication, CNN reported.

“Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality,” the study concluded.