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5 Benefits of having a pet

Added 513 days ago. 12 May 2021

Whether your companion is furry, scaly or a friend with feathers, keeping a pet enriches your life in more ways than you realise. Discover these five proven ways your pet is in fact caring for you…

 

Stress Relief

Always desperate for your love and attention, the presence of your pet won’t only make you feel safer at home, but can also help you relax, relieving any stress and anxiety you’ve been carrying. Pets are shown to have a positive impact on mental health

Combatting Loneliness

Caring for a pet doesn’t just involve feeding and grooming, it also involves lots of interaction. Having something to care for helps give your days structure and focus, while their companionship keeps you from feeling lonely. Pets provide unconditional love and are constant friends. Pet owners can enjoy a warm welcome from their pets every time they come home! 

 

Lowering Health Risks

There are also health benefits of owning a pet. Your pet could also be helping you ward off certain health risks, lowering your blood pressure, improving immune systems and even decreasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Pets have been linked to better health outcomes for older people , especially those with chronic conditions.

Keeping You Active

Whether it’s daily walks, or chasing your cat when it’s time for their brush, having a pet is a great way of keeping you active while boosting your mood and your energy levels at the same time. Having a pet also encourages you to stick to a routine, caring for your pet means a variety of tasks that can give a sense of purpose to your day. Studies have found that dog owners in particular have increased levels of physical activity when compared with non dog owners. 

 

Helping You Make Friends

Ever noticed how people are more likely to start a conversation in the pet aisle or in the park? Even just these brief snatches of interaction, sharing common stories about your pet’s silly antics, can help you feel more connected and part of the ​community.
 

What is the best pet for an elderly person?

 
Choosing the perfect pet can be difficult. If you want an animal to cuddle, dogs and cats make great pets for older people with different pros and cons. Cats are easy to care for and can be very independent. While cats can be more aloof than dogs, they can also be very affectionate depending on their personality. Unlike with a dog there is no need to walk a cat but if you have an indoor cat you would need to ensure that it's being provided adequate stimulation via play.
 
If you’re happy with a pet that needs a bit more care then smaller dogs can be a perfect pet, they don't require long walks like larger dogs, making them easier to manage but still provide the motivation to get out in the fresh air every day. They are also less likely to be able cause a fall should they tug on their leads. The Kennel Club provides advice on how to choose the best breed for you.
 
Consider adopting an older animal rather than a kitten or a puppy which needs more attention and energy. An older animal will be likely to be calmer and already trained. If you get a pet from a local shelter you'll also be giving an animal a happier life.
 
If you're looking for a lower maintenance pet then birds such as budgies are popular options, they are easy to care for and have great personalities, you can even train them to perform different tricks. Fish are another pet that are easier to care for, although they don't provide the same level as interaction as some of the other pets, they can be very calming to watch swim around.

 
Help looking after pets

 
If you have a pet and are starting to find it challenging to look after them there is help available for older people with pets. The Cinnamon Trust is a national network of volunteers who can help owners and pets stay together by providing practical help, such as daily dog walking.
 
They also provide services such as temporary or longer-term care for pets when their owners are unable to have them. They keep in touch with the owner while the pet is in care with regular updates to provide peace of mind.

 

What if you can't have a pet?

 
If you love dogs but aren't able to commit to owning one yourself there are organisations such as Wag and Company that take dogs into older people's home in order to combat loneliness and to allow them to experience to benefits of interacting with a dog.
 


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