Want to add years to your life? Get a pet! Here are the top scientifically proven ways that owning a pet improves your health:

  • First: They de-stress you. In a study, people who solved math equations while their dogs sat nearby experienced much less stress than those who worked near a human friend. So, why are animals stress busters? University of British Columbia psychology professor Dr. Stanley Corey says that when you interact with a friendly animal, your blood pressure plummets and your muscles instantly relax. That’s because animals are passive and aren’t judging us.

  • Then, every time you pet your pet, you’re boosting your immune system! A study found that petting animals boosts production of disease-fighting antibodies. But it’s not just your cat’s soft fur that triggers that response – even petting your beloved snake can produce the same results. That’s how powerful touch can be.

  • The final health benefit of pets: They’re good for your heart! Studies show that interacting with animals reduces blood pressure and your heart rate. And a pet could be your secret weapon against heart disease! That’s because studies show that people with strong bonds with their pets are more likely to survive heart disease.

And you know those people who say we shouldn’t be treating pets like human family members – don’t listen to them. The more we anthropomorphize our pets, which means attribute human personality traits to them, the more psychological and physical benefits we get from them. I think that’s your license to throw your dog a Bark-mitzvah.