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Dog lovers rejoice! Not only are pups cute and cuddly…they’re also good for your health! More and more studies are finding dogs to be key to improving many areas of physical and mental health, especially for the elderly.
In fact, dogs can have huge impacts on a senior’s health:
- Improved heart health: Dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure, smaller fluctuations in heart rate, and for those who have suffered heart attacks, seniors with dogs have higher recovery rates.
- Longevity: Yes, it’s true –– dogs can make you live longer. One study found that for seniors living alone, the risk of death was 33% lower for dog owners.
- Stress and agitation –– For seniors living with memory loss, stress is a part of daily life and socializing can cause agitation or discomfort. Dogs have been shown to significantly reduce stress and can even help those living with dementia interact more comfortably in social environments.
Before running to the animal shelter, make sure you or the senior you’re adopting for is ready for the responsibility of owning a pet. Keep in mind that pets come with physical and financial responsibilities and if the senior lives in an assisted living community, some may have a no-animals policy.
If adopting a dog feels right, local animal shelters are a great place to start! Look for older dogs with calm, relaxed personalities. For more tips and tricks for choosing the perfect pet, check out this helpful guide to pet ownership for seniors.