Pets can provide physical, social, and emotional benefits to seniors. This topic is very personal to me, as I have seen my own grandparents benefit from owning a dog. Seniors who are pet owners are more active, and are thus at lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Certain pets, like dogs, keep older adults connected to their community through social and physical activities. Even with animals like fish and rabbits older adults will be able to find an online or in-person community of pet caretakers.

One hand is holding a cane and the other is resting on top of the first hand.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, other health benefits of owning a pet include maintaining a routine and stress relief. Both the Cleveland Clinic and specify that the pet in question does not have to be a cat or dog in order for older adults to see these benefits from pet ownership. The previously linked article also has great information on programs with reduced adoption fees for older adults, and information about choosing the right kind of pet for you.


Now, say that the older adult in question maybe doesn’t want to own a pet full-time, or isn’t capable of taking care of an animal full-time. There are still ways that loved ones can involve animals in an older adult’s care. If the older adult is in a hospital or an assisted living facility, you can ask if the facility has a therapy dog on staff or if there are any therapy dog volunteers at that hospital. If yes, you can ask if that therapy dog can visit your loved one. Also, if you have a pet that has a connection with your loved one, you can bring that animal around the older adult as much as possible.

In conclusion, there are many benefits of pet ownership for seniors, and I encourage any older adult who is an animal lover to consider it. There are also ways to incorporate animals into one’s care if they cannot or do not want to own a pet.