Bringing a pet into one’s life entails physical, emotional, and social benefits. Dogs are empathic and affective companions who enrich the life of any person. Their presence in the life of a senior citizen has many positive effects including improvements in quality of life as well as many health benefits. You will never feel alone with a tail-wagging friend in the house for they loyally protect you and your home and will greet you with love each time you walk through the door.
Playing with your dog allows you to focus on the game, thus forcing your brain to forget worries, anxiety and/or depression. Researchers proved that petting and hugging your dog increases endorphin levels in your bloodstream, giving you a feeling of well-being. It also reduces blood pressure, heart rate, stress, anxiety, and risks of heart disease.
Having a four-legged friend will provide you with support and companionship to better cope with isolation and difficult situations such as illness or grief. It gives you a reason to get up every morning, and helps you embrace a more active lifestyle and maintain emotional stability.
Sometimes a dog is the perfect match for seniors with health conditions since they encourage autonomy, particularly for those that live alone because some therapy dogs can sense and alert their owners before a seizure or hypoglycemia episode takes place, allowing them to prevent the worsening of symptoms.
A dog is not only a loving companion, but also a partner that helps you keep a daily walking routine. Walking is one of the most recommended physical activities for seniors, as it helps them maintain a healthy brain as well as strengthen their bones and muscles. This consequently improves balance and reduces the risks of falling and subsequent injuries while preventing chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. According to scientific studies, seniors with pets visits their doctor less often, are more independent and able to execute more daily activities than non-pet owners.
Walking your dog provides you with social interaction opportunities. Pet ownership is a good icebreaker that allows you to break isolation and meet other dog owners. It is an opportunity to meet your neighbors, make new friends and have a good topic of conversation with people that live in your community.
Finding the perfect dog, whose breed, required care and maintenance best fit your preferences and needs is a process that involves love, responsibility, and information. Senior years can be associated with different lifestyles. Therefore, there are some aspects to consider when selecting a pet dog for a senior.