8 Benefits of Having Pets in your Golden Years

Mar 28, 2016

8 Benefits of Having Pets in your Golden Years

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Pets are great at any and every stage of life. They help toddlers learn how to treat animals, they help teens learn how to care for something that depends on them, they are great family members in middle-aged years, and finally, they are some of the best companions for seniors. Here are 8 reasons to consider having a pet in your golden years.

8 Pet Benefits for Seniors

1. A pet is something for a senior to care for

No matter what age or gender an individual is, everyone has a nurturing side. A pet is something for seniors to care of, which in turn, often causes them to take better care of themselves. Not to mention, pets need their owners, and feeling needed by something is a great feeling, especially in old age.

2. A pet is something to talk to

Life as a senior can be lonely, especially if the individual has lost a spouse. So, a pet is a great thing to talk to throughout the day. Pets love being talked to, and typically respond with lots of love and affection. But what’s the best thing about talking to a pet? They don’t talk back!

3. Pets can help seniors stay active

Many pets require exercise, which is why they are a great fit for seniors that are able to care for them! Having a mildly active pet will help seniors stay active themselves! Whether they are taking their pet for a walk outside or running around with them in the house; either way, getting up and moving around is a great health benefit of a pet for seniors.

4. Having a pet will create a routine

Pets require a lot of attention and a strict schedule. For example, a dog needs two to three meals a day and regular bathroom trips, and all of these will be at the same times each day if the senior and his or her pet are on a routine. For seniors, a routine is a good thing, again proving that pets are a fantastic addition for older individuals!

5. Pets can help seniors be social

All too often, seniors stay cooped up in their houses and never stray from their daily routines, which may or may not include socializing with others. Pets, especially dogs, are naturally social beings. A senior may end up participating in pet-related activities, such as obedience classes, or taking them to the dog park, which allows both the senior and the pet to meet new people!

6. A pet can provide a sense of security

Whether or not a senior has a big dog or petite cat, a pet can provide security in the sense of not feeling alone. If a senior is looking for more literal security, a dog may be the right option. A dog could weigh 15 pounds or 150 pounds, if a potential burglar hears barking, odds are they’ll turn away!

7. A pet can reduce stress

Actually, a study done in 2001 found that owning a pet can lower an individual’s blood pressure. Some college campuses have even begun to bring cats and dogs on to campus the week of finals to help reduce stress in students! In all, stress reduction is another great reason for seniors to have pets.

8. A pet can help lessen depression and improve a senior’s all-around mood

This stems from not being alone. It’s amazing the companionship a pet can provide, especially to an older individual who was previously living by himself or herself.

Considerations for Seniors Owning a Pet

Despite the many benefits of having a pet, a senior should be careful when choosing the pet they want. For example, a young dog or cat may have too much energy and be too active for a senior, depending on the individual’s lifestyle. This is why adopting an older dog or cat that is housetrained and crate trained from a shelter or a rescue is often the best option for an older person. Not to mention, adopting an animal typically means that they are already spayed or neutered and that they have all of the necessary shots.

Finally, there are some seniors who probably would not benefit from having a pet. Here are some seniors who shouldn’t have a pet:

  • Seniors with pet-related allergies
  • Seniors with physical disabilities
  • Seniors that cannot financially care for a pet

Some popular pets for seniors are:

  • Dogs (French Bulldogs, Beagles, Shih Tzus, Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are some of the best breeds for seniors)
  • Cats
  • Fish
  • Birds (Parakeets or Canaries are some of the most low maintenance)

Looking for a new, furry friend? Contact a local shelter or rescue!

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Should I be worried about heat stroke or heat exhaustion in my older loved one?

The simple answer here is yes. You should definitely be overly cautious when it comes to seniors and hot weather. As we get older, our bodies lose the ability to adjust to a change in temperature, often resulting in conditions like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Another reason this is common among seniors is because they are more likely to be suffering from a chronic, age-related disorder that alters the body’s typical response to heat.

There are some ways that you can prevent your senior from becoming overheated. Some include staying inside at the hottest times of the day, drinking plenty of fluids, and simply learning the signs and symptoms of heat-related disorders

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