Valentine’s Day is NOT just for the two-legged. In fact, many people prefer pets over other humans. And science backs this up.

The truth is, doggy love isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s a powerful part of a healthy lifestyle. A 2017 Swedish study of 3.4M people found that for those who live alone, dog ownership can decrease risk of death by 33 percent.

Stop and consider how momentous a finding that is for a moment — your risk of death drops by a third if you have a dog. If that kind of effect could be bottled and sold as a pharmaceutical, it would be labeled a wonder drug.

Study after study confirms that having a dog doesn’t just keep you alive longer; it also improves your mental health, lowers your risk of heart disease, and increases your overall level of joy.

This is, in part, because having a pet boosts your levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Also known (adorably) as the “cuddle chemical,” oxytocin lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, strengthens your immune system, and lowers rates of stress, anger, and depression.

It’s not just effective at home, either. Having dogs in the office makes for employees who are more engaged, productive, and happier – just one reason we love to come to work!

Love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. And since pups are basically love incarnate, it’s fitting that science is backing up what we’ve always known to be true: there’s nothing quite so comforting as the company of a dog.

We know you LOVE your pets everyday – so show us your four-legged Valentines on our Facebook page.