Happy Go Healthy

Dogs Help Seniors Stay Happy and Healthy

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Senior Dogs Are Good Companions for Senior Adults

Studies show that senior adult dog owners are more physically active than their non-dog owning counterparts. Dog ownership also boosts a person’s immunity and improves their physical and mental health in many ways. Senior dogs are usually a better match for senior adults because they are easier to handle than younger dogs and less likely to get underfoot and cause falls. Learn more about how senior dogs help senior adults in this article from Happy Go Healthy.

1. Dogs Keep Seniors More Active, Physically Fit

According to a study performed by the American Heart Association, people who own dogs are 54% more likely to get recommended daily amounts of exercise compared to people who don’t own dogs. Activity helps people maintain their mobility into their 70s and 80s.  

A recent study in the journal Gerontologist found that older adults who walked dogs experienced fewer limitations to their daily activities, lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.

Even when people know exercise will help them, they are less likely to get up and go if there are no other motivating factors. When there’s a dog involved, people are much more likely to go for walks and stay active when interacting with their pets.

Besides the activity benefits, studies show that having a canine companion is also linked to decreased triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and reduced cholesterol, which contribute to fewer heart attacks and better overall cardiovascular health.

2. Dogs Can Boost Seniors’ Immunity

In recent years, we’ve learned that exposure to germs isn’t always a bad thing. Too much disinfecting can actually make us more susceptible to illness. When our bodies are exposed to a less diverse mix of germs, we have less immunity to the germs that actually make us sick. Healthy dogs with healthy immune systems act like probiotics for their owners, helping people develop healthy bacteria colonies that boost their immune system. So, seniors with dogs seem to get ill less frequently and less severely than people with no pets.

3. Dogs Improve Seniors’ Social Lives

As people age, it may become harder to get out and meet people. This usually is not the case for dog owners. Researchers have found that about 40 percent of dog owners make friends more easily because they converse with other dog owners during walks. Dog ownership usually boosts a senior’s social activity too because there are vet visits, going to the groomer, and other pet-centric activities.

4. Dogs Help Seniors Grow Old Gracefully

As people grow older, especially after retirement, it can be difficult for them to maintain a structure and find meaning to their daily lives. When a senior adult owns a dog, they have a reason to get up and do things because they have another living being depending on them.

Dogs also help prevent loneliness and isolation, which is a major factor for slowing cognitive decline and disease. Alzheimer’s patients have fewer outbursts when there is a dog in the home, and caregivers of elderly patients report less stress.

5. Dogs Help Keep Seniors Safe

A dog’s natural instinct is to protect their owner and territory. While this can be frustrating when the delivery man comes calling, it is useful if someone more criminal is on the prowl. A dog’s amazing senses of smell and hearing allow them to detect things a person can’t and alert you to possible danger. Even an older, small dog can be an effective burglar deterrent.

Whether they’re going for a walk or relaxing at home, just having a dog around can help put a senior’s mind at ease. Knowing there’s a dog looking out for your parent or other older loved one can also help your peace of mind.

Senior Dogs are Good Companions for Senior Adults

Many senior adults own a senior dog that they’ve had since it was a puppy. The unconditional love they get from a pet enhances their lives as they grow older. Some seniors may be looking to adopt a friend from a local shelter. It’s usually best for senior adults to adopt an older dog because they are often easier to manage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 3% of serious senior falls are caused by pets, and 85% of those are caused by dogs. Falls can lead to serious injuries for elderly adults. So, when a senior adult is looking to adopt, they should consider mobility issues.

Seniors who have balance issues might prefer a larger dog because they are easier to keep track of, reducing the chance of a fall. Smaller dogs can easily get underfoot, so they are more commonly associated with tripping and falling. A smaller dog may be a better option for those that travel often. Seniors should keep in mind they must be strong enough to control the dog in the house and on walks. Older dogs that have already been trained are often easier to handle for seniors.

Happy Go Healthy Helps Senior Dogs

Senior dogs will sometimes require more attention. A quality supplement can make a big difference in keeping them healthy into the later years of their life. Happy Go Healthy’s Joint and Skin Support Supplement adds extra Omega-3 from fish oil, essential minerals, and pre-biotics for joint, skin, and gut health. Besides adding these wholesome, simple and healthy ingredients to a dog’s everyday meal, Happy Go Healthy is a tasty kibble dogs will love!