5 Benefits of owning a pet as a senior citizen

Updated on July 8, 2021

Owning a pet has several mental and physical health benefits, studies indicate that seniors that own pets visit the doctor 21% less than seniors that don’t own pets. There are a number of reasons why owning a pet is beneficial for senior citizens, here are five fundamental reasons why owning a pet as a senior citizen is a good idea. 


Not every senior citizen is lucky enough to have a partner or friends and family to spend their precious time with. Owning a pet can provide much-needed companionship for anyone over the age of 60. Loneliness is one of the main causes of dementia and rapid cognitive decline therefore, if you are a senior citizen and you want some company, adopt a dog. Dogs make perfect companions, when they become attached to their owners they develop loyalty and trust which can be extremely beneficial especially in emergency situations. 


The Japanese call it “Ikigai,” meaning “purpose” or “reason.” Traditionally, Japanese people do not believe in the idea of retirement, they continue to find meaning in life by working or finding something to do that would give their day purpose.

 Owning a pet can give senior citizens that much needed purpose. A daily routine of waking up and taking care of an animal is therapeutic and it gives senior citizens a reason to wake up and live each day purposefully and happily. 

Also, taking your pet to the vet for checkups at veterinary practices like Paoli Vetcare will certainly keep you busy which is necessary for your mental health as a senior citizen. 

Stress Reduction 

Spending time with a pet, stroking and cuddling promotes oxytocin production which is a hormone that the body produces to reduce pain, stress and fear.  Therefore, owning a pet and dedicating time and effort to take care of him/her might help to reduce stress and anxiety


Dogs make the perfect companions and they need to exercise daily therefore, owning a dog could help senior citizens to get the required amount of exercise daily. Taking a dog for a walk both morning and evening will add an extra hour or two of physical activity every day. Exercise is vital for senior citizens, cardiovascular exercise strengthens the muscles, bones and cardiovascular system which is essential for longevity and health. 

Make Friends 

Senior citizens should spend some time socialising, making new friends and spending time with other people. This can improve cognitive ability, boost memory function as well as increase feelings of happiness and fulfilment. Pets are great conversation starters and they often encourage and lead to new friendships and connections. 

Bottom Line 

Pets make great companions, they provide senior citizens with a reason to keep going each day and they reduce and prevent stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and chronic anxiety. Spending time with a pet can increase oxytocin production which is vital for stress and pain reduction.  Pets facilitate relationship building and boost feelings of overall happiness and contentment. 

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Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.