Dogs are referred to as man’s best friend. Turns out that there’s meaning behind that saying, especially when it comes to seniors.

We at Ellicott Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing are dedicated to improving the lives of seniors and providing ways that seniors can remain active for as long as they can.

Studies are showing that owning or taking care of a pet can improve the physical and emotional well-being of seniors. Here are four benefits of having a dog or cat around.

1.Improves Blood Pressure

Research shows that just petting a dog can lower one’s blood pressure. Studies have gone on to learn that people with pets have lower blood pressure than those who don’t have one. Lower blood pressure reduces the risk of a number of heart issues. Dog owners will also benefit from physical exercise just by taking their furry friend on a walk or to the dog park.

2.Gives a Sense of Purpose

Many seniors lament not having anyone to take care of. Their children are long out of the house, and they may have had a spouse pass away, which leaves an empty house. Taking care of the basic needs of a pet can bring back some of that sense of purpose and responsibility a person may crave.

3.Cuts Down on Chance of Depression and Loneliness

Living alone is the chief reason that loneliness and depression rates among seniors are so high. A pet can provide a trusty companion for times that family members are unable to visit.

4.Allows for More Social Interaction

While taking your pet to the dog park, you are likely to meet other dog enthusiasts, and you may even gain a friend or two. You can also start dog-walking clubs in your neighborhood or senior living community. And if owning a pet is too much, many shelters and other organizations are always looking for volunteers.

5.Pick the Right Pet

With all this being said, a puppy with boundless energy may not be the best fit for a senior looking for relaxing companionship. Fortunately, many shelters have older dogs with more even temperaments that may better match a senior’s lifestyle.