Dogs as Companions for the Elderly

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

It is common knowledge that humans bond emotionally by looking into each other’s eyes. Even so, pet owners who look into a dog’s eyes for at least five minutes get a boost of the feel-good oxytocin hormone in the brain, the journal Science reported.

smart dog

Studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing

  • Affection

  • Company

  • entertainment and

  • a sense of responsibility and purpose

Seniors with pets tend to get up, talk and smile much more than when there are no pets around.


dogs getting bath

Dogs are higher maintenance than a cat or fish or bird. They require a routine of feeding, walking and bathing. While none of these are hard to do, be sure that your senior is up to the task. If your senior has limited mobility, a dog may not be the best choice for them.

Dog maintenance also includes pet visits and sometimes medications or special diets. Also, most rental places require a pet deposit as well as a monthly pet rental fee. Be sure it is in your budget before entering into a pet ownership.

Bottom line here is that a pet does not ask to come to your home, you invite them, and as such you need to be able to take on the full responsibility of a pet.

That said, a routine of walking a dog can go a long way in helping your senior get the necessary exercise they need as well. “Seniors age 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week, or about 30 minutes on most days of the week.”

This time amount fits in perfectly with the time it takes to walk a dog. Of course, walking a dog is not just for the dog’s exercise, so be sure to understand you will need to have a poop bag and be able to lean down to pick up the dog’s mess after he is done. This is a courtesy to all around you.


family with dog

Let’s not forget the social aspect of dog ownership. Because everyone needs to get their dog out and about (especially if you are in a community surrounding such as an apartment complex or condo) then it only stands to reason you will also be interacting with the other dog owners and their dog. There just seems to be a really nice community of people who own dogs. Or even those who don’t own a dog sometimes really enjoy seeing a cute canine walking about and will stop and chit chat for a few just because of your little pooch.

★ Call Missy Donaghy for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.


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