Benefits of owning a pet when you are older

Aussies are crazy about pets! In fact, there are more pets than humans in Australia, and many pets are treated more like children these days and are considered part of the family.

The bond between pets and their owners can certainly enhance our lives — for singles, for those whose children have flown the coop, or for older folks — having a pet not only provides companionship, but can also improve health and wellbeing.

Increased physical activity
There’s nothing a dog likes more than going out for a walk and a sniff. This means that dog owners find that their own level of activity and exercise increases when they have the responsibility of a pet to take care of.

Of course, an important consideration is that you have a pet that fits into your lifestyle as well as your living situation. You will need to be sure you'll have the energy in the long run to provide your pet — whether it is a dog or a cat — with the exercise it needs to keep it happy and healthy.

A more engaged social life
Dogs not only provide companionship at home, but social opportunities as well. The dog park is often a social spot in the community where pet owners meet and chat, and even catch up for special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

Pets can help those of us who are a bit shy get a conversation started. This helps prevent isolation, and provides a beautiful and meaningful connection with the community.

Reducing depression
Through their companionship and providing motivation to get out in the community, pets can help combat depression and other illnesses that are common amongst all generations.

Routine and purpose
Having to consider the pet you love in your life leads to healthy routines that can help create positive habits. Cats and dogs love routine — in fact, many know instinctively when it's dinner time. They also work great as alarm clocks if you've got to wake up to let them outside in the morning.

Caring for others also gives us a sense of purpose. For many seniors who are retired and whose children have grown up, there may be a general feeling of lack of purpose. Caring for a pet can restore that feeling of being needed.

Unconditional love
Dogs and cats live very much in the here and now. Their priorities tend to be food, exercise, and love. For many, this is an important lesson that can rub off. They also offer unconditional love, no matter who you are, and they are always willing to lend an ear.

The other upside — of course — is that the pets benefit, too. The great thing for pets of those who spend more time at home, is that they have more time to share the love with their new pet. Like us, there’s nothing a dog or cat likes more than good company!

What’s your most memorable pet story? Share it below!

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If you’re thinking of getting a pet, or have a pet, you will know that it can be a rewarding but expensive job. To help with the cost of vet fees, you may want to consider pet insurance: WYZA offers a 10% lifetime discount for our readers, so why not get a quick quote and find out more now?