As we age and our friends and family begin to leave, companionship may be harder to come by but that doesn’t mean it is any less important. Quite the opposite is true. Companionship provides emotional support, joy, and stress relief. That’s what owning a pet can offer – constant companionship and unconditional love.
The great thing about a pet is that regardless of the owner’s personality – timid or a social butterfly – a pet will love its owner in the way he or she wants to be loved. Pets have no agenda except to be their owner’s faithful companion. That may be one reason why research shows that older pet owners have lower blood pressure and pulse rates, and 20 percent fewer doctor’s visits than non-pet owners.
br> Dog owners are more active, taking the dog for walks. They are more social, meeting other dog owners and friends at the dog park.
In other words, the right person and the right pet can be a beautiful thing, improving significantly the quality of both lives. When asked about the benefits of having a pet, seniors reported the following:
Here are some things to consider when deciding if a pet is a good idea for an elderly owner:
If a dog is being considered as a new pet, research the breed to ensure it matches the abilities and preferences of the elderly owner. Dog breeds have distinct personalities and needs. For example:
A puppy or kitten may not be the best option for senior owners. They can cost upwards of $800 a year (food and veterinary care) and their constant activity can do more harm than good. Adopting a dog or cat that is at least two to three years old, and of modest temperament, is a great option. Owning a pet can extend life and happiness, and it is worth the little bit of work that they bring with them!
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