(CBS Seattle) — Give your pup some extra love today. The American Heart Association says your heart may actually be healthier because of your pet, according to CBS News.

The AHA analyzed previous studies and found that owning a pet was associated with fewer heart disease risk factors and increased survival among patients. Pet owners were also found to be less stressed and had lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and rates of obesity.

Dog owners specifically had lower cardiovascular risk and increased physical activity levels, likely because they have to walk their dogs.

The AHA says there are no definitive studies proving owning a pet causes a reduction in heart disease risk, but the benefits are clear.

The AHA’s policy statement was published online in Circulation Thursday.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights  Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS News contributed to this report.)

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