They say pets are man’s best friend and it looks like pets are our heart’s best friend too. A new study in the American Journal of Cardiology shows that for people with chronic diseases, having a pet is linked with the heart’s capability to adapt to any number of circumstances that can affect the body, such as a faster heartbeat during a stressful moment.

According to the study the research included 191 people with a chronic condition like diabetes or high cholesterol, with a mean age of 69, whose heart rates were analyzed for a full day and night. They were also broken up into groups depending on their pet-ownership status. The results found that the people who owned pets had heart rates that changed more than people who didn’t own pets, meaning the heart rates were more adaptable.

This isn’t the first time researchers have found a link between pet ownership and heart health. In 2008 a study showed cat owners had a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or other heart problems than people who’ve never owned a cat before. It also showed that people who’ve never owned a cat before had a 40 percent increased risk of death from heart attack over a 20-year period.

So if you’ve been putting off getting that cute puppy or cat take this as a green light to make the leap. Not only will you find a companion to keep you company, but having a furry friend will help you live longer too!

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