Houston: If there was any doubt about the benefits of sharing your home with a pet, here is something to mull over, scientists claim that the presence of a pet greatly reduces the risk of heart disease.

According to a report in Science Daily, the American Heart Association has published a scientific statement attesting to the benefits to the heart from a pet.

The statement is published online in the association's journal, Circulation.

"Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease," said Glenn N. Levine, MD, professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

"In essence, data suggest that there probably is an association between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk," Levine said.

"What's less clear is whether the act of adopting or acquiring a pet could lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk in those with pre-existing disease. Further research, including better quality studies, is needed to more definitively answer this question."

(Agencies)

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