Is it Better for Your Health to Own a Dog When You’re Older?

Posted Jan 31, 2023 in Health & Safety

Yes, being a pet parent during the later stages of life has a lot of varying health benefits! Most commonly, pets are clinically proven to increase serotonin and decrease anxiety; however, according to the AKC, there are a handful of other ways your pet’s presence is helping without you knowing! Older adults tend to struggle with living alone or lifestyle transitions, so having a furry friend as a companion and a cohabitant is always encouraged! If you’re experiencing more severe cognitive conditions, check out this article on guide and therapy dogs for expert-trained pets.

Dogs are good for heart health

A 60-year study on the relationship between dog ownership and health conditions proved that having a dog leads to decreased risk of cardiovascular problems. These studies suggest pet parents experience lower blood pressure and stress levels throughout data collection from 1950 to 2019. Therefore, if you are at risk for heart health problems, having a dog could reduce a stressful environment, one of the leading causes of heart episodes, and ultimately help in the long run.  

Help Cope with Crisis

Older adults tend to have a multitude of crises or emotional events that affect them, but having your dog by your side will help! While providing companionship, dogs also can help us recover psychologically with their unconditional love and attention. Perdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has proven this by providing military veterans with service dogs for PTSD; moreover, discovering significant positive coping skills compared to those without a dog’s support. 

Encourage an active lifestyle

Adults need an hour of exercise daily; luckily, pets love walking outside! Having a dog encourages older adults to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle, a.k.a. the second most common reason to own a pet. Studies show that pet parents do four times more physical activity than non-dog owners per week; furthermore, furry friends keep humans from staying in bed too late and motivate them to get out of the house! 

Aids in cognitive functions

A 2014 study proves that having pets ultimately benefit older individuals, especially those with mental or physical conditions. Pet therapy aids in retaining cognitive memory functions; having a pet in the home keeps seniors in a familiar routine with a friendly furry friend. 

Check out these related articles for more pet owner tips!

Keeping Your Older Dog Fit

How Dogs Try to Talk with Humans

Establishing Your Dog’s Safe Space

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