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Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

elderly man walking dog

Man’s Best Friend

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Do you know about the health benefits of owning a dog?

  • Scientific evidence has shown what happens physically when a person strokes a dog. The person’s blood pressure is lowered, heart rate slowed, breathing became more regular and muscle tension relaxed. All of which are signs of reduced stress.
  • There is now a large amount of evidence confirming that pets are good for your psychological health and may increase, not only the quality of your life, but also your longevity.
  • In an intriguing study researchers followed more than 400 patients after they were released from the hospital after having a heart attack. One year later the pet owners had a significantly higher survival rate than non-pet owners. It seems that the affectionate bond and social support provided by dogs was reducing their stress which can be a major contributor to cardiovascular problems.
  • Up to 25% of people who go to general practitioners do so for depression and anxiety. Depression is actually considered to be much more disabling, both socially and in terms of physical functioning, than many chronic physical illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis and back pain. Although depression can be caused by many factors, one of the most common is simply, loneliness.
  • Research looked at people 60 years of age and older, which were not living with human companions, but were living with a pet. The likelihood that the non-pet owners would end up being diagnosed as clinically depressed was four times higher than that found in the pet owning people of the same age.

Even if you are getting on in years and are not totally sure of your ability to handle, train and exercise a dog, there could still be the right dog for you. Yes of course many people of retirement age are able to remain fit and healthy well into old age, however, most of us do begin to slow down.  A hyperactive mischievous pup may not be the answer for you but an older dog tends to be quieter and less challenging.

Here are a few examples of dogs that may be suitable:

  • The Pug dog is one of the most popular dog breeds among older people who are looking for an intelligent, loyal and entertaining companion that they can really bond with. They are prone to short bursts of silliness and love to play, but will not require miles of walking. They are short in stature and they are not generally prone to pulling on the lead or mobility scooter. They are also bright and very amenable to training.
  • Poodles come in various different sizes, and they are low – moulting, intelligent, being easy to train and willing to please. Small and miniature poodles are well suited to life in smaller homes such as retirement apartments and senior complexes. Whilst the poodle needs to keep fit and walked regularly, they do not tend to be unruly or pull on the lead when properly trained.
  • The Yorkshire terrier is another dog that is very popular with seniors, and again, can live quite happily within a small home or retirement apartment. Due to their small size, they are unlikely to run rings around you, and will tire out quickly after exercise! They tend to be funny and love to cuddle up in your lap, making them excellent companions for older people who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Whatever you decide, or not being the case, have fun and enjoy your four legged companion as much as he or she will love being with you!





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