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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Why having a dog is heart-healthy

When people talk about their dogs, some find it hard to hold back a smile. That's because their pooch makes them happy. But dogs are more than just mood boosters, according to a study by Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist. They are also heart-healthy.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Yep, research shows it's true. Pets are good for your heart health.

"What we found was that those who own a pet, particularly a dog, were healthier from the cardiovascular standpoint," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

He adds that people who have dogs are more likely to exercise regularly, eat a healthier diet and have better sugar levels in their blood. He knows the benefits of having a pup firsthand.

"I have a German shorthair retriever named Choco," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

"He will be nagging me until we go out — maybe for a short walk, maybe throwing him balls. But what I realize is that anything that I do with my dog will imply physical activity," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

Exercise improves heart health because it helps you maintain a healthy weight and controls blood sugar. And dogs can be great mood boosters.

"Dogs almost universally will have those traits of loyalty, love, cheerful attitude, living in the moment, and expressing affection," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

And that's good for the heart and soul.