How To Effectively Have A Pet For More Senior Happiness



Pet Importance

Pets are especially important for the elderly population. Many studies have shown the various beneficial effects of adopting or having a pet. As our loved one’s age, they can become lonely. This is one of the major contributory factors for stress and other diseases. Furthermore, with pets around, there is not the only decline is stress levels. Also, pets promote devotion and companionship in older populations.

Pet statistics

The Pet Information Bureau in Washington, D.C state that owning a pet is helpful for older people. Another key point, living with pets brings back their lost interest in life. Also, they feel better if they have something to come back to when they are home alone. As a result, having a pet to care for, promotes a strong basis for socialization as well as exercise.
In addition, the U.S. News and World Report have documented. Seniors who have pets are more alert and smiled more as compared to the groups who did not adopt or have pets. In fact, all these studies confirm that, after the age of 50 years, pets somehow become man’s best friend. Not to mention, when children leave their aging parents to pursue their education or job. It is these friendly animals who come to their rescue. Having pets and spending time with them ensures better health and a vast range of other benefits.

The many benefits of living with a pet

After the age of 50, many seniors fall prey to isolation due to various reasons. These are often the major contributing factors to failing health for our loved ones. Experts across the globe have studied the effects of pet ownership in the elderly. And the results were extremely positive. Let us understand the various health benefits of living with pets.
  • Improvement in mood levels and consequent decrease in depression. Also, when we play with pet animals, there is a calming effect with the release of a hormone called oxytocin. Another key fact, according to a Swedish scientist. When a woman bonded with dogs, the oxytocin-producing effect was like a breastfeeding relationship. This hormone has a calming effect on the mind of our elderly, which is also known to reduce anxiety.
  • There is a significant reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke. There is also a decrease in blood pressure and the pulse rate is also known to stay normal. Owning a pet involves many activities, and it also keeps our elderly loved ones busy. This brings down the risk of developing heart disease as exercise keeps their blood pressure under check.
  • Promotes socialization and exercise. This is because, when there are pets at home, elderly would have to take them out for walks and attend to their needs. This allows the elderly to get out of the home. And meet friends and people, thus promoting socializing. In this case, walking is the best exercise for older people, which improves blood circulation and boosts overall health.
  • It also improved cognitive functioning. Caring for a pet is exceptionally beneficial for the elderly suffering from dementia. This is because spending time with pets, caring for them, attending to their needs, all makes them more focused and improved their cognitive functioning.
  • Improved overall health. According to several studies conducted across the globe. When the elderly owned and cared for their pets, were far more healthier than those who did not own pets.

Get the right kind of pets

Small energetic pets which need you to run around them. They are certainly not the right choice for our elderly. In such cases, a mature and a well-trained pet is right for our elderly loved ones. Such type of mature pets makes the best companion and they take all the attention of our elderly. These pets nap often and do not create any nuisance for the elderly.

Top 5 dog breeds for seniors

  • Yorkshire Terrier

A relatively low energy dog that can happily spend an afternoon snuggled up on their owner’s lap. Yorkshires tend to bond very strongly with one person.

  • Scottish Terrier

A good dog for a retired person who can give this breed frequent walks around the neighborhood. Scottish Terriers are both affectionate and protective of their owners and will provide a sense of security.

  • Shih Tzu

Another lap dog that is ideal for the older person. These dogs are calm and affectionate and love spending time with their owners. The long coat of the Shih Tzu will require frequent grooming, but given the dog’s patience and small stature, this can be a pleasant routine for the retiree.

  • Cocker Spaniel

A lively, medium size dog that will require frequent walks and romps in the park or backyard. These dogs are favored by many retirees, however, for their easy-going nature. Spaniels tend to like other people and other dogs, making them a nice addition to the family, although Cockers do need strong boundaries. They can get cranky, and at times exhibit dominant behavior, without a strong leader.

  • Pomeranian

A little dog that can bring cheer and affection to an older person’s home. These dogs like to play but need only a small area in which to run. In fact, the space available in an apartment is usually enough to keep these dogs happy and healthy.

Top 5 cat breeds for seniors

  • Russian Blue

A devoted companion animal, this cat will do whatever it can to get your attention. They’re a fairly quiet breed but very affectionate.

  • Burmese

The wide eyes and loveable nature of this breed will melt your heart. Also, they are relatively innocent and trusting nature, they should be indoor-only cats.

  • Colorpoint Shorthair

A loving and an affectionate breed, devoted and loyal to people. Colorpoint Shorthairs demonstrate sensitivity and compassion toward their owners.

  • The American Shorthair

It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns and is also a very long-lived kitty, with a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.  The American Shorthair is healthy, gentle, easy going and low maintenance — grooming is not an issue with this breed, which weighs in at an average of 8 to 15 pounds.

  • The rag doll

a gentle and affectionate cat, often following its owners from room to room like a puppy.  This kitty is not good at defending itself and shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets alone. In fact, it is careful not to use teeth and claws during play, which makes it ideal around seniors.


A pet can solve a host of problems for your loved one.  The simple act of cuddling with a cat or a dog can be a source of happiness and good health for our elderly loved one. Also, they help drive away loneliness and promote exercise for your loved one’s life. Family caregivers should certainly consider or encourage adopting or having pets.  For additional information, check out this wonderful site.  Also, check out this old post.

2 thoughts on “How To Effectively Have A Pet For More Senior Happiness”

  1. Thanks for writing on this subject. Pet therapy is very much effective for seniors and can help them in magical ways. Seniors who feel lonely at home can buy a pet animal to brighten their mood and reduce anxiety.

    • Thank you, Doris. It is my pleasure to find subjects and resources for caregiving that will help bring happiness to our seniors.


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