While any pet owner can certainly attest to the many benefits of living with a furry friend, research confirming the health benefits of senior pet ownership have appeared in many well-respected publications and medical journals.

Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include: decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness and increased opportunities for socialization.

 

 

Research

Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may have some causal role in reducing CVD risk.

Get Healthy, Get a Dog: The health benefits of canine companionship

Ongoing research is showing that the health benefits of owning a dog are undeniable. Dog owners have lower blood pressure and healthier cholesterol levels, and a lower risk of heart disease, than non-owners.

Dog Walking, the Human-Animal Bond and Older Adults' Physical Health

Dog walking was associated with lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise. People with higher degrees of pet bonding were more likely to walk their dog and to spend more time walking their dog each time, but they reported walking a shorter distance with their dog than those with weaker pet bonds. Dog ownership was not associated with better physical health or health behaviors.

Setting the One Health Agenda and the Human-Companion Animal Bond

Setting the one health agenda and the human-companion animal bond – The goal of this paper is to briefly review some of the evidenced-based data concerning the benefits of having companion animals in our lives, focusing on four major areas; cancer, heart disease, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the potential positive economic effects of the human-companion animal bond on One Health.

The Benefits of Human–Companion Animal Interaction: A Review

(Subscription required)

The effects of animals on human health and well‐being

Substantial sums of money are invested annually in preventative medicine and therapeutic treatment for people with a wide range of physical and psychological health problems, sometimes to no avail. There is now mounting evidence to suggest that companion animals, such as dogs and cats, can enhance the health of their human owners and may thus contribute significantly to the health expenditure of our country.

Published Articles

Dog owners: Less heart disease and longer life?

The 12-year study included over 3.4 million Swedish adults ages 40 to 80. Using data from national health sources and dog ownership registries, researchers found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to heart disease.

Owning a Pet May Protect You from Heart Disease

Owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease, and there are a variety of reasons that may be at work that influence this relationship. It may be that healthier people are more likely to be pet owners or that people with dogs tend to exercise more. Pets also play a role in providing social support to their owners, which is an important factor in helping you stick with a new habit or adopting a new healthy behavior.

10 Reasons Older People Need Pets

Having a pet helps elderly get out of the house, exercise, meet new people, reduce stress, etc.

Benefits of the Human Animal Bond

Examples of therapy animals improving the physical, social & emotional health of clients

The Healing Power of Pets for Elderly People

For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.

Health Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors

Supports health benefits of owning a pet.

The Elderly and their Pets

Online magazine article supporting benefits of pet ownership in elderly

Pet ownership may be a factor in improved health of the elderly.

Supports the benefits for elderly with companion animals.