Pets May Paws-itively Benefit Seniors

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May is National Pet Month

Man’s best friend may be the secret to helping seniors feel their best.


Research has consistently demonstrated the physical benefits of pet ownership, but now the mental and emotional benefits are becoming more apparent. Specifically, pet-owning seniors may experience memory improvement, weight loss and an enhanced outlook on life.

According to a national Purina Senior PetLover survey of 514 pet-owning Americans ages 60 and older, 66% said their pets keep their mind active and their memory sharp. Forty-five percent said adopting a pet prompted them to undertake more physical activities like walking, while 26% of the women said they lost weight. And 84% of those polled said owning a pet makes them feel happier.

“Research showing the physical benefits of pet ownership for seniors, which includes lower systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels, has been well documented over the years,” confirms veterinarian Steve Cohn. “However, seniors also benefit emotionally from pet ownership, which might not be as easily seen on the outside, but can greatly impact their quality of life and enable them to feel their best.”

In fact, 69% of senior pet owners said their pet makes them look forward to each new day, 55% said they see their pet as their playmate, and 71% of women said their pet keeps them energized.

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Photo by Tom Gannam courtesy of Nestlé Purina

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