Dogs can improve our health without us even realising it.
You don't have to run endlessly around the local park with your dog to lose weight.
When low-income, sedentary people with chronic illness were given “loaner” dogs to walk, they lost an average of 6.5kg a year, a study from the University of Missouri found – so even a gentle stroll with Fido is good.
Pet owners also tend to have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, according to a study conducted by the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne.
And if all this isn’t a big enough reason to love our four-legged friends, pets can benefit our mental health too.
Related Video: Watch the video below to see how this dog and his master stay healthy!
For the full story plus more great health stories, see this week's Woman's Day on sale October 11, 2010.