Owning a pet can be a positive experience at any age. Pets provide companionship, comfort and support. For seniors, owning a pet can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. For mobile seniors, owning a dog can be particularly beneficial. Studies have demonstrated that dog ownership leads to increased exercise, an important preventative healthcare tool. Social benefits—interacting with other pet owners, visiting a dog park—can help boost emotional equilibrium.
For seniors with health issues, visiting pet programs can provide a successful alternative to pet ownership. “Pets on Wheels” is a program that brings pets to seniors. All pets are vaccinated, screened and chosen for the suitability of their temperaments. These and similar programs use pets to improve the quality of life for many elderly people.