Pets bring much joy to the lives they touch. So, it should
come as no surprise that the 2019-2020 National Pet
Owners Survey, which was conducted by the
American Pet Products Association, found that
about 85 million families in the United States
own a pet. In Canada, 7.5 million households
are home to companion animals, states the
PetBacker blog.
Pets off er companionship and
unconditional love. While they are fi tting
for any family, seniors may fi nd that having
a pet is especially benefi cial. The organization
A Place for Mom, which helps match families
with senior living residences, says pets provide a
comfort system that produces measurable health
results. Caring for pets and being around them can produce a
chemical chain reaction in the brain that may help to lower stress
hormones while also increasing production of the feel-good
hormone serotonin.
This is not the only health benefi t pets may provide.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic, which looked
at 1,800 people between the ages of 25 and 64
who had healthy hearts, found that almost half
owned a dog. Having a dog was likely to spur
heart-healthy behaviors, like exercising with
the pet, eating well and having ideal blood
sugar levels.
Pets also provide emotional support
and companionship that can help seniors –
including those who may be divorced or widowed

  • feel more secure and happy. The National Poll on
    Healthy Aging found that, among respondents who
    had pets, 88 percent said their pets helped them enjoy life, and
    86 percent said their pets made them feel loved.