Top Benefits Senior Citizens Reap from Dog Ownership
Senior citizens and dogs. They should go together like peanut butter and jelly. Yet, some senior citizens wonder if they will gain any benefit from accepting a new furry buddy into their lives. The fact is, the companionship of a dog can have a positive impact on the senior citizen dog owner.
Choosing the Right Dog for a Senior
If you found this article because you’re Googling looking for information for yourself on dog adoption, you’re smart to do the research. A dog is a long commitment, and you don’t want to enter into the responsibility lightly.
Just as all senior citizens have different levels of activity, fitness, and social skills, so do dogs. A spry retiree at 55 years young might be more inclined to—and able to keep up with—a young energetic puppy. On the other hand, an older senior should consider visiting a shelter and adopting an older, calmer, and better-mannered dog.
It’s all about matching up the dog’s personality with the human’s energy levels. Your best bet is to rescue a shelter pet, regardless of your age. At a shelter, you will be able to visit with several dogs of different breeds and interact in a visiting room so that you can make a smart decision. When you leave with your new friend, you will be saving his life.
5 Benefits of Dog Ownership for Senior Citizens
A Bird Back into the Nest
If you’re an empty nester, you know how lonely that feels. The house is too quiet. The children are grown up and starting their lives, and you have hours of time to fill. While a dog certainly won’t replace your children, he will help you fill the void and make the house not quite as quiet. Owning a dog is like having one baby bird…err, dog…back into your nest.
You’ll Get More Exercise
If you find that you yourself spending more time in your easy chair, a dog will help you get up and moving again. Dogs require exercise and a lot of it. While playing in a fenced-in backyard is great, a walk is even better…for you and for her.
Our dogs evolved from the wild where they ran in packs and covered several miles of terrain every day in their pursuit of wild game and water for survival. While Fluffy appears to be a lazy couch potato, that instinct is still in her DNA.
So, you will be more inclined to get out there and take those long daily walks to keep yourself healthy. It will help keep off excess weight and deter weight-related illnesses as well as keep your bones strong.
Improved Social Interactions
Are you looking for entertainment and socializing on a senior citizen’s strict budget? Look no further than your local dog park. Once there, you’ll meet dog owners of all ages from children to other senior citizens.
You’ll quickly find that the dog owners who hang out at the dog park are very much like a bunch of proud parents at the playground. You’ll find sage advice on every topic from the best local vets to the coolest adjustable collars. While the dogs play, you’ll find yourself making new friends and start to really look forward to your next visit.
Dogs are Heart Smart
Did you know that dogs are heart smart? Not only will they help to keep your heart pumping because of all that walking you’ll be doing, but they are also a great stress reliever. In fact, study after study has proven that dogs help lower your blood pressure; therefore, they help to prevent heart disease and heart attack.
Here’s how this work. When you pet your dog, your brain sends a message to your hormones to do two important things. First, it cuts down on your stress hormones. Second, it releases the hormones that help your body relax.
There’s something about petting your dog that makes you feel safe and calm. Some speculate it’s because dogs have deemed themselves the protectors of mankind since ancient times and we associate them, even today, as protection.
A Set Daily Routine
Dogs can help improve your memory and keep your mind sharp for longer. When you adopt a dog, you and your new friend will quickly slip into a daily routine. At certain times of the day, you’ll know that it’s time to wake up, feed Fido, take him for a walk, etc.
The human brain interprets patterns and like predictable behaviors. So, if you need to remember to take your medication while Fido eats his food, you will soon make that behavior a part of your routine. When you have a routine that reminds you when it’s time to eat or take medication, it becomes easier to remember to do those necessary things for yourself.
This type of routine helps you keep your thoughts clearer than a day that drags endlessly and starts and ends in front of the television set by yourself.
As a responsible pet owner, you’ll need to choose carefully when selecting your new pet. Dog ownership is a privilege that many of us humans willingly embrace. In fact, you might intend to rescue that cute pound pooch, but it might turn out that she’s really rescuing you.
What advice can you share for senior citizens who want to adopt a dog? Please share with us on Facebook @ifitbarks. We’d love to hear your thoughts.