BISMARCK, N.D. - Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, but owning a dog can lower your risk.
Medical professionals with Sanford Health say your furry friend enhances your quality of life, which in turn, lowers the risk of heart disease.
Physical activity is the number one benefit of owning a dog.
"Gets me off the couch, gets her off the couch. It's all around mutually beneficial," says Tom Trenbeath, Bismarck resident.
Sanford Health says people who own a dog reach the recommended level of activity per week 50 to 60 percent more times than those who do not own a dog.
Bismarck resident Bernard Jooste likes to visit the dog park everyday. He says it keeps him and his dog in shape.
Sanford Health says your furry companion also lowers anxiety, stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
"Anything we can do in our country to reduce the risk of heart disease and death should be implemented. So, go get a dog," says Elizabeth Scheurer, Nurse Practitioner.
According to a study in a Swedish publication, single people are the biggest beneficiaries of owning a dog due to the risk of cardiovascular-related deaths falling by 36 percent. However, the publication also stated that people who live in a multi-person household also benefit from having a dog, with a 15 percent lower risk of cardiovascular death.