10 benefits of owning pets

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | May 26, 2011

 In this article, we will look at the benefits of owning pets and how this decision can factor into enhancing and increasing elderly activities in general. In fact, many of those benefits are applicable for people of any age. Regardless of whether you are young or old, pet ownership is a simply wonderful option. There are currently millions of animals that are in the need of a good and loving home. If you have the means to bring a pet into your home through adoption, you could literally be saving a life!

Pet Ownership and Beneficial Elderly Activities

There are significant benefits to be had from owning pets. Pet therapy is the term that refers to the physical and psychological benefits a person receives from the unconditional love of a pet. Animals constantly give love and affection and ask for nothing in return. As a result, many seniors, especially those who feel alone and isolated, can benefit from the addition of a furry four-legged friend.

Studies Show Tangible Medical Benefits of Pet Ownership


The health benefits of pet ownership rank right at the top of the list. This is one of the reasons that owning a pet is a very good choice for almost any senior. It can be difficult to find new ways to help seniors maintain and improve their overall health and fitness levels, but having a pet does seem to stand out as a very good option. Pet ownership encourages both mental and physical activity, for example.

Studies have shown that pet ownership keeps seniors more active and happier than they would otherwise be. This increased level of elderly activities can improve everything from heart health and joint health to bone density and your immune system. Additionally, those with pets are more likely to avoid depression and may even heal more quickly as well.

  • Improved heart health
  • Improved joint health
  • Improved bone density
  • A stronger immune system
  • Resistance to depression
  • Quicker healing from injury
  • Endorphins are released that help with pain response

Additional Ways Pets Can Foster Elderly Activities

  • Pets require owners to leave the house, especially dogs
  • Dogs and other pets require play, which encourages mental and physical activity
  • Pets can be used as an icebreaker to initiate conversation

Elderly Activities Such as Pet Ownership Encourage Positive Outcomes

It is important to note that simply owning a pet doesn't guarantee any of these results. Yet, the fact that pets are able to encourage both physical activity and mental stimulation is at the root of why pet ownership ranks high on the list of positive elderly activities.

Elderly Activities Such as Pet Ownership Encourage Social Interaction

 The simple fact is that pet ownership encourages people to get out of the house and interact with the world around them. This is particularly true for those that own dogs, for example. Dogs want and need to be walked on a daily basis.

Further, dogs as well as other pets encourage both physical and mental stimulation due to their need for play. Play can also encourage pet owners to venture to the park and other public areas where they can interact with others. In particular, a dog can be a wonderful icebreaker and stimulator of conversation. Seniors can tend to become reclusive. This is especially true for those who may have dealt with losing a loved one.

These benefits are only a few of the ways that pets can help the elderly. No doubt there are far more than just 10 benefits that can be had from owning pets. Considering all the animals in the world that currently need homes, pet adoption is a beautiful thing for anyone to consider.

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