Study: Pets may help you live longer

Pets are great. I couldn't imagine living without my dog, Sam, and cat, Casey. And, ya know, I just may live longer because of them.

That's the conclusion of a new report from the American Heart Association. Dr. Glenn Levine, a professor at Baylor College in Houston, headed the committee that studied all the research done on the influence that pets have on our health.

"There certainly were association between pet ownership, particularly dog ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk," Dr. Levine says.

A pooch tends to reduce stress, which is good for your heart. And if you have a dog, you probably take him or her for a walk, also heart smart.

The study found that having a pet is often associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity.

That said, the Heart Association does not recommend that you run out and buy or adopt a pet thinking it will result in better health.

"Just going out and adopting a dog doesn't mean your risk of heart attack or death will automatically decrease," Dr. Levine says.

More Info: Pets may help reduce your risk of heart disease