Seniors get many benefits from having a well-behaved dog at home. Here are just a few of the many reasons to have a four-legged companion:
Daily Exercise. Having a dog entails regular walks, hikes or even runs which will reward you by helping to fit healthy exercise into your routine. It’s hard to make excuses when your pet depends upon you for daily exercise! Walks have the added benefit of deepening the connection between you and your canine companion.
Companionship. Social contacts tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons. Having a dog is a wonderful source of camaraderie that helps combat feelings of isolation. Your dog is a special addition to your life – always an attentive audience for your thoughts and feelings, an ever-faithful confidante and a true friend. Nothing beats loneliness like coming home to a dog full of joy.
Helping you meet new people. Having a dog gives you the opportunity to socialize with other dog owners and make new friends. Whether meeting at the dog park or at a pet store, you’ll share a bond with like minded people.
Reducing anxiety. Being alone can be nerve-racking. Having a dog around offers comfort, prevents feelings of anxiety and helps you enjoy each day. A dog will make you feel less afraid of being a victim of crime, whether you are relaxing at home or walking together outdoors.
Adding structure and routine to your day. Caring for your dog means you must adhere to a regular feeding and exercise schedule, providing consistency in your life. No matter what your mood, you’ll have a daily routine that’s not only necessary for your companion’s well-being, but benefits you as well.
If need help caring for your dog. ElderDog Canada is a national charity that helps older adults to continue their relationships with their canine companions. ElderDog volunteers can assist with exercising your dog, help with animal hygiene issues, or provide transportation to and from your vet or groomer. For more information, visit www.elderdog.ca.