Your Health: Dog owners recover better after heart attack

A recent study says, after suffering a heart attack or stroke, a dog really is man's best friend. 

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Luke Laffin says the results show owning a dog was associated with better outcomes. 

"What they found was that those dog owners actually had a lower risk of having recurrent cardiovascular events." says Dr. Laffin

The study looks at more than 180,000 people between the ages of 40 and 85, who had previously suffered a heart attack or stroke.

Results show dog owners, who lived alone, had a 33% reduced risk of death, when compared with people who suffered a heart attack and lived alone without a dog. 

Dr. Laffin says the relationship between dog ownership and heart health makes sense. 

Dogs typically have to go for walks, which gets you out the door and moving, which is good for heart health. 

Dogs also provide companionship, so it's possible dog owners have less loneliness. 

Previous studies show depression and loneliness can increase the risk of heart disease. 

But if you can't own a dog, don't worry. 

Dr. Laffin says people can still mimic the benefits of owning one, for the sake of their heart health. 

"They can go out for regular physical activity, maybe a walk, jog; even classes like yoga, swimming - those are all great activities that you don't need a pet to do." says Dr. Laffin

Dr. Laffin says getting more physical activity, on a regimented schedule, can go a long way toward better heart health and longevity. 

Recommended for you