Pets and Seniors: Why You’re a Perfect Match

If you’ve never had a pet before, the idea of becoming a dog or a cat owner may get your hair standing on its end similar to that of a cat when is scared or startled. But pet ownership can be beneficial and improve your quality of life, especially if you are a senior citizen.


Science backs up the benefits of pet ownership. Science shows that pets provide emotional relief which can ease physical ailments. Pets have been proved to lower blood pressure and heart rate.  The decrease of functionality is not easy for our seniors, but an animal can help to lower stress levels.

Animals are also proven to help reduce loneliness and isolation. Seniors are more prone to depression. A dog or cat serves as a great companion and can lead to more happiness.  A study by Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan found that a person’s Oxytocin levels -the hormone which makes people happy- spiked sharply after interacting with their dogs. The 2009 study also found that people who looked into their dog’s eyes had a higher dose of Oxytocin.



It’s important to stay active as you age and a dog might just be able to help you get outside and improve your fitness.The Journal of Physical Activity and Health discovered dog owners are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those without this companion. The study found that dog walkers exercise more compared to people who didn’t have a dog. These pet owners  also tended to be involved with other physical activities such as gardening or dancing. For people over the age of 65, exercise is proven to lead to a longer life and prevent health problems associated with aging.

If you have physical limitations and you are home bound, cats may be a better option. Most felines are content staying indoors and they are largely self-sufficient. The majority of adult cats require roughly 30 minutes of play time per day. Seniors might want to consider throwing a soft toy to their cat as a way to engage in physical activity.

“It is very important for seniors to get regular physical activity. As your body ages, we all lose mobility and strength. Some sort of exercise, even if it’s playing with a dog or cat, can help your mind, body and soul,” said Andy Cruz, Pride PHC Vice President.


There are innumerable dogs and cats in San Antonio needing a forever home. Many of these animals have suffered through hardships or been abandoned by an owner. You could be the one person to change an animal’s life. Animal Care Services, San Antonio Pets Alive, and the San Antonio Humane Society are among the leading agencies in San Antonio with animals available for adoption.

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