Dogs are a precious gift from God. They are the ones who run up to you when you come home, all excited and ready to love you. They are the ones who fall asleep in your lap and snore louder than they should be able to. They are the ones who look at you with those big, round eyes while begging for food.

On top of all these cute attributes that dogs have, they also help improve your mental and physical health. Check out these ten reasons for how they do exactly that.

1. The data backs it up 

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Yes, there have been studies done on this. According to researched published in a journal, "Researchers found that dog ownership was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of death from any cause among the general public, and a 33 percent lower risk of death among heart attack survivors who live alone."

In another study, it was reported that, "After accounting for factors such as age, other health issues, marital status, the presence of children in the home and income, the researchers found that heart attack survivors who lived alone had a 33 percent lower risk of death in the year after their heart attack if they had a dog, compared with non-dog owners. Among those who did not live alone, the reduction in risk was smaller, at 15 percent."

And, when worse-comes-to-worse, if all else fails, at least you have a cute dog by your side as your built-in best friend.

2. They encourage you to be active 

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Obviously, when you get a dog, they need to be walked and let outside. You can't keep them cooped up in the house all day long or else they will get restless. Having a dog will get you walking, running, going to the parks, playing ball, etc. Your lifestyle will instantly turn much more active.

This not only helps your physical health but your mental health as well. As the great Elle Woods once said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."

3. They are there when you're feeling down 

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Sometimes dogs just know you better than you know yourself. They are there when you're crying, when you can't get out of bed, after a break-up, or just feeling off. They will do whatever in their power to make you feel better whether it is by sharing their favorite toy or cuddling you.

4. They give you unconditional love 

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Dogs will love you no matter what. No matter what mistakes you make, where you go, what you do, or what you say, they will always be there, just waiting to sniff you and play fetch. In their eyes, you literally can do no wrong.

Other than when you don't give them a billion treats for sitting.

5. They help prevent loneliness 

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It's helpful to get a dog if you live alone. They add a sense of comfort to the house and help people get out of their heads. You can talk to them when you have no one to talk to and hang out with them when you are alone.

Loneliness can easily sink in in a quiet household so having a companion will distract you and fill your house with love and cuteness.

6. Dogs force you to interact socially 

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Having a dog forces you to get out of the house and be around people. With taking them to the vet, to the park, out on walks, and weekly trips to Trader Joe's, you meet a lot of people. The social interaction will help you mentally and you can meet some pretty cool people with equally cute dogs (and dogstagrams to get those followers for your pup).

7. You will crush all your friends in that step competition 

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Are you losing in your step competition with your friends? A dog will easily get you to double the steps within a day. You will get steps from chasing them around the house, on walks, and chasing them when they take something they shouldn't.

8. You are taking care of someone other than yourself 

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There are proven health benefits from helping others and taking care of someone. Altruism (caring about other people and acting in someone else's interest) promotes positive physiological changes in the brain that is associated with happiness. When you help others it releases endorphins which then activate parts of our brain that are associated with trust, pleasure, and social connection. It also will help reduce stress and decrease the pain from stress when it stimulates the brain to release endorphins.

9. It's a gym built in a cute little animal 

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Dogs are tiring and will be your own little personal trainer. They sure bark like one when you don't move and do what they want. Save the bills from the gym and spend time with a puppy that you love, all the while staying healthy and fit.

10.  You can't help but smile whenever they do anything 

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You can't not smile when you look at a little dog. Especially a little dog that is yours. The emotional connection you form with it will be like no other and soon you won't be able to think of them without grinning.