How Having a Pet May Boost Heart Health


Pets can quickly become a beloved member of the family. For seniors, they can be a wonderful source of companionship, especially if living alone. Having a dog or cat around can provide a greater sense of purpose and responsibility as well. After all, pets cannot entirely care for themselves.

Another benefit of having a pet may be improved heart health. Studies have shown that owning a pet may:

  • Decrease blood pressure.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Encourage physical activity.
  • Lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

The act of petting a dog or cat can be incredibly calming. If seniors are feeling stressed or agitated, spending some time relaxing with their pet can help them to unwind. Animals listen quietly, freely give love and attention, and are non-judgmental. They are a nice companion to have around.

Pets also encourage seniors to be more active. They must take their dog out for walks and engage in some physical playtime whether tossing a ball, running around, or playing with their favorite toy. This can get seniors up and moving more frequently and for longer periods of time than if they did not have a dog. During the summer, aging adults can find a dog-friendly beach or pool and go swimming together. This can be an excellent source of cardiovascular exercise and it is easy on the joints.

Finding the Right Companion

Seniors should not adopt a dog (or cat) solely for the purpose of trying to improve heart health, but having a pet can provide a wealth of benefits. It is important that individuals are able to properly care for their pet, both physically and financially. Before adopting a dog, consider its size, health, age, temperament, training, and energy level. Seniors want to find a dog that is a good fit for their lifestyle and preferences. Understand the responsibilities and commitment that go along with being a pet owner.

It can be a good idea for seniors to spend time at a shelter visiting with different dogs or cats in order to get to know their personalities and find a good match. Once they pick a pet, make sure to get necessary supplies and set up a space in the home for the animal’s food and water dishes as well as its bed or crate.

Owning a pet can also help seniors keep their mind sharper and give them a sense of purpose. They know that each day they are responsible for taking care of the dog or cat and ensuring that its needs are met. An in-home caregiver in Loudoun VA can help seniors stay on top of tasks, make sure they get out to buy food or supplies, keep their home more organized, and accompany them on walks. Pets can also be a wonderful source of companionship during times when family or a caregiver are not there.

Learn more about in-home caregiving by calling Always Best Care to schedule a free consultation. Find the right level of support for your loved one’s needs so they can continue aging in place safely and comfortably.

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