The Benefits of Pet Ownership for Older Adults

The Benefits of Pet Ownership for Older Adults 

by: Melanie Farley  


Study after study has shown that elderly people benefit exponentially from pet ownership. In fact, The New York Times even published an article recently about an up-and-coming trend in our rapidly advancing, technological world: robo-pets for seniors. While, robo-pets may not be available to every home in the immediate future, there are plenty of dogs and cats available for adoption at your local animal shelters and pet shops. 

So, what are the some of the benefits of pet ownership for older adults, and should you consider purchasing a furry friend for the beloved senior in your life? Read on to find out. 




Throughout history there are numerous examples of the important role small companion  animals, like dogs and cats, play in human society, with the earliest formal recognition of their benefits to human health recorded in the 18th century.

These health benefits become even more important as we grow older and loneliness and depression threaten to creep into our lives. Small companion animals, like dogs and cats, will mold their schedule and personality to the elderly person in your life. A dog or cat is never too busy to provide the beloved senior in your life with attention and affection. 

Additionally, older people with small animal companions experience less stress on average, than their pet-less counterparts.


A Reason to Get Out and Exercise 

Regular exercise benefits adults of all ages, but it can be hard to get into a regular exercise routine and stick with it. Having a dog can be a great way to make walking a regular part of your senior’s daily routine. 

Having a pet can help your senior stay involved in regular social activities too, particularly if the pet requires regular outdoor activity. Seniors can stay connected by visiting dog parks, the vet, the pet groomer, and more. Having a pet means making a promise to be invested in another life, and that is one of the most positive decisions seniors can make as they grow older. 


New Friends and Hobbies

It can be harder to meet new people as an older adult, but there are plenty of shared activities for pet owners from communal walks to charitable events. Having a pet can also expose your senior to new hobbies like cleaning up the neighborhood dog park. 

Staying connected to the community is one of the most valuable aspects of pet ownership and can help provide a sense of belonging for seniors as they age. 


A Final Word

Only you can decide if a small companion animal is right for the senior in your life, since every situation is unique. But the mental and emotional health benefits are clear: companion animals can provide much needed companionship to seniors as they grow older, while helping them to stay active and remain connected to their communities. 

Consider visiting your local animal shelter today to find a beloved companion for the senior in your life!