Many seniors love having a pet companion to keep them company in their golden years. Pets offer seniors the opportunity to love and cherish a four-legged friend, and to benefit from their unconditional love and companionship. And it provides a loving home for adopted pets. Pets and seniors can be a wonderful match, but there are things for seniors to consider before adopting a pet.

The team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital would love to help you make a well-matched pet adoption. Let’s take a closer look at the important things to know about pets and seniors.

Pets and Seniors: What to Consider Before Adopting

Adopting a pet has incredible rewards, but our four-legged friends can be a lot of work. Dogs especially need socialization and will want to go on those daily walks and outdoor playtimes. Cats also need daily attention, such as cleaning the litter box, brushing, and keeping them active. The energy and training commitment needed can vary greatly between pets, as can their expected lifespan.

There are many things to consider before adopting when you are older. The important questions to ask are:

  • What pet matches my level of mobility or activity? If you have limited mobility, a feline friend may be the best choice. But if you walk each day and are healthy and active, an adult or senior dog companion may be right up your alley. Consider your overall lifestyle for the right match.
  • What is my living situation? If you are in an assisted living community, you will need to inquire about pet rules. Tiny spaces translate into adopting a smaller companion, like a toy breed or cat as a new pal. Some seniors enjoy exotic pets, too, which are much smaller and often kept in an enclosure, such as a bird or hamster.
  • If I become ill, do I have someone to look after my pet? This is not a fun topic, of course, but a necessary one. Should you become sick or are hospitalized, make sure you have a few people who will step in and care for your sweet companion while you are unable to do so. Include your pet in your will or estate planning to provide greater peace of mind that your furry one will always be taken good care of.
  • Have I considered the cost? Being a pet guardian is an amazing responsibility, but one that entails financial planning. Costs related to veterinary care, parasite control, food, treats, supplies, and so on can add up. Make sure you are reasonably sure you can manage the cost of your pet’s well-being.
  • Do I have a veterinarian that I can easily take my pet to? Knowing the logistics of how to transport your pet to their wellness examinations is crucial in keeping them healthy and accommodating your travel restraints, too. It’s also important to have a plan for any unexpected veterinary emergencies that could arise.

Pets and Seniors: The Benefits of Pet Ownership

Now that you’ve figured out the perfect pet match for you, let’s take a look at all the wonderful benefits of owning a pet as a senior.

  • Spending time with a pet increases your cognition and mood
  • Owning a fur friend actually lowers cholesterol
  • Depression and anxiety both decrease through pet companionship
  • A pet encourages you to get out and socialize more
  • You’ll regain a sense of purpose
  • Studies have shown that pet ownership reduces the chance of stroke

And even better, you get the chance to rescue a deserving pet from a shelter, which is something to smile about!

If you have additional questions about pets and seniors, we are here to answer them. We look forward to meeting your precious, new best friend at their first wellness checkup.