Part of the Bay Area News Group


By Gary Bogue
Thursday, September 13th, 2007 at 6:40 am in Pets.

Could man’s best friends help you improve your memory, lose weight and stave off depression when you enter your senior years?

According to a national Purina Senior PetLover survey* of 514 pet-owning Americans, ages 60 and older:

** 66 percent said their pet keeps their mind active and their memory sharp.

** Almost half of those surveyed (45 percent) said that after adopting a pet they started spending more time doing physical activities like walking and 26 percent of the women said they lost weight.

** 84 percent of those surveyed stated owning a pet makes them feel happier.

“Research showing the physical benefits of pet ownership for seniors, which includes lower systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels (American Journal of Cardiology, 1995), has been well-documented over the years. However, seniors also benefit emotionally from pet ownership, which might not be as easily seen on the outside, but can greatly impact their quality of life and enable them to feel their best,” says Steve Cohn, DVM, a Purina Pets For Seniors veterinarian.

A Healthy Dose of Pets Gets Seniors UP and GOING
Although constant companionship is the best aspect of owning a dog or cat according to 88 percent, seniors also see other benefits of pet ownership that include a positive outlook on life and a renewed interest in being active. In fact, 69 percent of senior pet owners said their pet makes them look forward to each new day and that’s the same positive attitude that contributes to a more active lifestyle.

Pet ownership provides a powerful incentive for seniors to get moving because they know it’s good for their health, and it’s another way to interact with their pet. For example, seniors acknowledge their pet is their companion, but 55 percent of those surveyed said they also see their pet as their playmate, and so the simple act of playing leads to more vibrant seniors.

Even more, 71 percent of the women said their pet keeps them energized, which is a great reason for people of all ages to consider adopting a pet.

*The survey interviewed 514 adults, ages 60 and over, living in the United States during a two-week period in late July 2007. Phone interviews were conducted via Opinion Research Corporation, a pioneer in marketing research. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level for comparable data between the populations of pet owners and non-pet owners.

Dear Readers & Dogs & Cats:
A press release from Purina Pet Care with the above survey information arrived in my morning mail. We all have our personal reasons for living with our pets or humans. That’s why I thought this little survey might interest you. If you have anything to add, please go to “Comments” below and type away.
— Gary Bogue

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  1. Scott Saari Says:

    Not only good for seniors. I am 31, single and no kids. My dog Meadow keeps me from feeling lonely while looking for the perfect women for me. When i get off work the first thing I think of is how her day was. Also, she having her has introduced me to new people (dog park).
    Finally, I have noticed whether you are a pet lover or not Meadow puts a smile on everyones face that see her!!!

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