We are all wired with an innate need to have someone or something to share our love and to care for regularly. As friends and family move on, life can become a bit lonely, especially as it becomes more difficult to leave the house or participate in once-loved activities. If you are no longer caring for family, then caring for a pet can fulfill that need, as well as, giving you love in return.
Pet therapy is not a new concept. There are service dogs that can help the blind get around with ease. Emotional support animals are trained to help people suffering from panic or anxiety attacks. Merely owning a pet has its benefits, too. While most of us can attest to the good feelings associated with having the unconditional love of a furry friend, there have been studies that show health benefits as well. Some of those benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- Increase activity levels
Mental health benefits
Animals can be soothing and provide company during what would otherwise be a lonely time. By nature, we are social beings, and having a pet can help to ease some of the symptoms associated with illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimers. Pets can be a companion, a confidant, and an overall mood boost to their owners. Bonding with an animal can provide social support, with the unconditional love offered by dogs, in particular. After all, there is nothing that compares to the wag of your dog’s tail when they are excited to see you or even their sloppy kisses on occasion.
What pet should you have?
Cats and dogs are the most common pets, but let’s not forget about some of the other house pets out there. Birds can provide beautiful songs and chatter to your day. Fish are fun to watch and are calm. Different types of pets that are great as we age are rabbits or guinea pigs. Contact your local breeder to find out what kind of care these animals need, and if it fits into your abilities and schedule.
Things to remember
It is essential that you not forget that your pet will need care that you can provide. The idea is to enlighten your life, not cause you undue stress or anxiety. Dogs need to walk, so your mobility has to be accommodating to that. Cats are less needy, but you still have to be able to care for the litter box and keep it clean. Cleanliness is vital for your pets and yourself, so we want to encourage you to put much thought into having animals before taking the next step.