Calling All Seniors: You May Need a Healthy Dose of Pets

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May is National Pet Month

If you’re one of our senior readers, you can nurture your organic spirit by adopting a pet. See last week’s article, Pets May Paws-itively Benefit Seniors, for a look at all of the health benefits associated with pet ownership.


But choosing the right pet is very important. Be aware of the commitment required to care for a dog or cat.

Here are some tips for finding the right companion:

Think about why you want a pet. Identify your reasons for adopting a pet, which will help you define the type of furry companion that can best fit into your life.

Consider an adult pet. Animal-care professionals advise adopting an adult dog or cat, as it may be a better fit for your lifestyle than a puppy or kitten. Adult animals tend to be calm, housetrained and less inclined to exhibit unpredictable behavior.

Consider your home and lifestyle. Certain pets require more space and care than others. For example, if you live in an apartment, a small dog or cat may be your best bet. Along the same lines, if you want a pet that’s relatively low-maintenance, then adopt a short-haired cat or dog that doesn’t require daily brushing.

Turn to your local animal shelter. Adopting from a shelter has many advantages. Besides having a great selection of adult animals for adoption, many organizations provide a special program or discounted adoption rates for seniors. Many shelters across the country participate in the Purina Pets For Seniors program, through which seniors age 60+ can adopt at a reduced rate. 

“We know pets can enrich the lives of people of all ages, and studies continue to show animal companions improve the human mind and body, especially in the elderly,” says veterinarian Steve Cohn.

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Photo by Tom Gannam courtesy of Nestlé Purina

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