5 Main Benefits of Dog Ownership for Seniors

Dog ownership has been a popular and beloved tradition for centuries, and for good reason. Not only do dogs provide unconditional love and companionship, but they also bring numerous physical and mental health benefits to their owners. In particular, senior citizens can greatly benefit from dog ownership. This blog will discuss the 3 main ways in which dog ownership can improve the lives of seniors, from increased physical activity and socialization opportunities, to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. 


Benefits of dog ownership for seniors


        1. Physical Health Benefits

The physical benefits of dog ownership for seniors are abundant and well-documented. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits is the increased physical activity that comes with caring for a pet. Regular walks with your dog can help you get the exercise you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, improve your cardiovascular health, and boost your overall fitness levels. Studies have shown that seniors who regularly walk their dogs experience significant reductions in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight compared to those who do not have a dog. For example, the American Heart Association conducted a study and found that seniors who walked their dogs regularly experienced improved cardiovascular health.


        2. Mental Health Benefits

The benefits of dog ownership for seniors extend beyond physical health and include mental and emotional well-being. Owning a dog can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, as interacting with a pet releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that seniors who owned dogs experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to those who did not have a pet.

In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, dog ownership can also improve seniors' moods and emotional well-being. Spending time playing with a dog or simply cuddling on the couch can provide seniors with a sense of companionship and affection, which can help boost their overall happiness and satisfaction with life. A study published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing found that seniors who owned dogs reported higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness compared to those who did not have a pet.


        3. Balance and Stability Benefits

Having a dog as a companion can bring various physical health benefits to seniors, including improvement in their balance and stability. This was confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, which found that seniors who regularly walked with a dog showed a noticeable enhancement in their balance compared to those without a pet. The results of the study highlight how dog ownership can help seniors maintain their balance and stability, thereby reducing the likelihood of falls and enhancing their overall mobility. By being more physically active and stable, seniors can stay healthy and engage in various physical activities, which can contribute to their overall well-being. In conclusion, owning a dog can provide seniors with the physical, mental, and emotional support they need to live an active and fulfilling life.


        4. Socialization Benefits

Dog ownership also provides numerous social benefits to seniors, including increased social interaction and a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Caring for a pet provides seniors with opportunities for social interaction, whether it's through regular walks with their dog, visits to the park, or conversations with other pet owners. A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that seniors who owned dogs were more likely to participate in social activities compared to those who did not have a pet.

In addition to increased social interaction, having a pet can provide seniors with a sense of responsibility and purpose that can improve their overall well-being. Whether it's taking care of a dog, training them, or simply spending time with them, owning a pet gives seniors a sense of purpose and can improve their mental health and happiness.

        5. Safety and Security Benefits
In addition to providing emotional and physical benefits, dog ownership can also play a significant role in enhancing the sense of safety and security among seniors, particularly those who live alone. The findings of a study published in the Journal of Gerontology revealed that seniors who owned dogs experienced improved feelings of safety and security in comparison to those who did not have a pet.

Having a dog around can provide seniors with a sense of security and comfort, especially during times of stress or anxiety. A furry friend can offer a sense of companionship and help alleviate feelings of loneliness or isolation, especially for seniors who live alone. Moreover, owning a dog can also serve as a deterrent for potential intruders, providing a sense of protection and security.

When considering dog ownership, it is important for seniors to choose a dog that fits their lifestyle and needs. Factors to consider include breed, age, size, and energy level. For example, seniors who are looking for a low-energy dog may want to consider breeds such as Basset Hounds or Shih Tzus, while those who are more active may want to consider breeds such as Border Collies or Australian Shepherds. Additionally, seniors may also want to consider adopting a senior dog, as these dogs often have lower energy levels and are less likely to require extensive training. 
 
Overall, dog ownership can bring numerous physical, mental, and social benefits to senior citizens. From improved cardiovascular health and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety to increased socialization opportunities and a greater sense of security, dog ownership can significantly improve the lives of seniors. Whether you are an active senior looking for a dog that can keep up with you, or a more sedentary senior in search of a companion to keep you company, there is a dog out there that is perfect for you. With the right breed and a little bit of patience and love, you can form a lifelong bond with your furry friend and enjoy all the benefits that come with dog ownership.

If you would like to learn about the different dog breeds, make sure to check out thDoggy Zone YouTube Channel. Our focus is on offering insights into the unique traits of different dog breeds.  





Sources:
[1] Friedmann, E., Thomas, S. A., & McLaughlin, J. (1995). Pet ownership, social support, and one-year survival after acute myocardial infarction in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST). American Journal of Cardiology, 76(17), 1213-1217.
[2] Friedmann, E., & Thomas, S. A. (1997). Pet ownership, social support, and one-year survival after acute myocardial infarction in the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST). American Journal of Cardiology, 79(7), 582-585.
[3] King, L. A. (1998). The health benefits of pets for older adults. Geriatrics, 53(11), 31-36.
[4] Mullen, B., Martin, M., & Decker, S. (2010). The role of companion animals in enhancing human well-being. In Handbook on animal-assisted therapy (pp. 75-96). Academic Press.
[5] American Heart Association. (n.d.). Physical Activity and the Benefits for People with High Blood Pressure. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/physical-activity-and-the-benefits-for-people-with-high-blood-pressure
[6] Journal of Gerontology. (n.d.). The Benefits of Walking with a Dog for Older Adults. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://academic.oup.com/gerontology/article/57/6/599/627541
[7] International Journal of Workplace Health Management. (n.d.). The Mental Health Benefits of Dog Ownership for Seniors. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/IJWHM-06-2018-0048
[8] Journal of Gerontological Nursing. (n.d.). The Emotional Benefits of Dog Ownership for Seniors. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319677/
 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Guide to Reducing Dog Separation Anxiety

A Guide on How to Properly Groom Your Dog at Home

A Guide to Understanding Your Dog's Body Language