If you've ever shared your home with a pet, you know that an animal can bring love and companionship into your life. But could your furry friend also protect you against heart disease and help you live longer? Research suggests it might—although the protective effects depend on which type of animal you have and how you interact with your pet.
Ours is a pet-loving culture. Researchers spend a lot of time exploring what has become known as “human-animal interactions,” and the pet industry spends a lot of money promoting what it prefers to call the “human-animal bond.” But that concept might have been laughable a century ago, when animals served a more utilitarian role in our lives.