Maybe toss your dog a few extra pieces of turkey this Thursday. They deserve it for saving your life or at least extending it.

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A huge new study in Sweden looked at the medical records of 3.4 million people, and found that dog owners tend to live longer than other people do. Any time you visit a hospital in Sweden, it gets entered into a database.

Registering your dog is mandatory there, so the stats are pretty solid.

The study found dog owners are less likely to die of a heart attack, or for any other reason. It's especially true if you're single. Over the course of 12 years, people who lived alone were 33% less likely to die if they owned a dog. It was 11% for dog owners who didn't live alone.

It's not clear why owning a dog extends your life, but the researchers think there are two main benefits: They expose you to more types of bacteria, which strengthens your immune system. You also get more exercise.

Terriers, retrievers, and other dogs that were originally bred for hunting had the biggest effect. Probably because they're more active and need more exercise, which forces you to get more exercise too.

Read more at TIME.