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Why David Oyelowo Says Having Dogs May Add Ten Years to Your Life

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David Oyelowo, 40, can point to several reasons why he loves having dogs, but the actor says one great perk about having pets is that it may actually increase your life span.

“I heard a study that says having dogs can add ten years to your life. Something about the amount of bacteria they bring into the house, which means your immune system goes up,” Oyelowo tells PEOPLE. “But I’m sure it also has something to do with the well-being dogs give you.”

The A United Kingdom star, who was named one of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Men Alive, lives with his three rescue dogs – golden retriever mixes Olive, 7, and Lucy, 5, and his husky Levi, 8 months – as well as his four kids and wife, actress Jessica Oyelowo.

The actor, 40, adds that having dogs is a wonderful learning experience for his young kids.

“They have to walk the dogs, feed the dogs and it’s a means for looking outside themselves,” he says.

The Queen of Katwe star also doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves and doing the dirty work when it comes to cleaning his pooches.

“My favorite thing to do with all three dogs is to give them a bath outside,” he says. “They really love dousing me with water.”

Another thing he enjoys about his four-legged friends is the love they give him when he comes home.

“After a long day at work, when I walk through my front door, there is a pile of three dogs, four kids and a lovely wife who greet me,” he says. “They lift my spirits all the time.”