Pets to the Rescue
We are a nation of pet lovers. The UK has more pet owners per head of population than the majority of our neighbours around the world and those that have them, love and care for them as part of their family.
In a recently published US report, the findings suggest that owning a pet can have significant health benefits for the elderly including helping reduce the symptoms of depression and loneliness, reducing blood pressure, lower pulse rates and even helping to prevent heart disease.
Whilst it goes without saying that our beloved cats and dogs are not directly responsible for these health benefits it is thought that the responsibility involved with owning a pet certainly helps the owner to maintain good health.
Leanne Fieldhouse, practice manager and registered veterinary nurse for Budget Vets agrees with the finding of the report and has her own thoughts regarding why owning pets can benefit the elderly population.
“We meet pet owners of all ages in our branches. You will often hear some of our elderly clients saying that they have a daily routine based around caring for their pet. Dog owners for example often take their dogs out at the same time each day, walk the same route and meet the same people providing opportunities for them to exercise and socialise with others.”
Cats have a reputation for being quite independent and doing what they want to do. This isn’t necessarily the case with the majority of cats enjoying being groomed and played with as well as of course being fed. Grooming cats whilst they sit on your lap can help reduce stress levels and lower pulse rates for their owner. It’s a quiet and calming process for both parties which can help reduce heart disease.”
It needs to be remembered that you should own a pet primarily for your own health purposes. Enjoy your pets and show them love and affection which will be returned unconditionally by them to you.