By Michele Dixon
It’s no secret that the bond between humans and their pets is deep and meaningful, which explains why 95 percent of pet owners say that pets are a part of the family. The comradeship, loyalty, and unconditional love that pets provide have proven to have both mental and physical benefits. While your hair and patience may thin as you age, your ability to love and care for a pet can only grow – especially if you want to reap the benefits.
The amazing health benefits of pets
According to the CDC, pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness, while increasing opportunities for socialization and happiness. Pet owners benefit from the feeling of being needed and loved, so a pet can help improve poor self-esteem and loneliness.
In addition, pets also increase opportunities for exercise. Dogs need exercise and are dependable work out partners who are always excited and never flake. Studies have shown that pet owners are more likely to complete the recommended minimum 150 minutes of exercise per week than non-pet owners.
Sharing your golden years with a rescue
If you don’t yet have a pet, there are many waiting in shelters who would love to go to a loving home. Often they are not surrendered for any fault of their own, but because of financial reasons, death of a guardian, new baby, a move, or many other reasons. One of the joys of adopting an older pet is that there are less surprises: they have been socialized, they have passed through the crazy kitten/puppy phase, and they are often house and command trained. They also have endless love to give.
Adopting a pet – especially a senior pet, is a wonderful experience. Pets add so much to our lives with their unconditional love and companionship and you will have the opportunity to give a forever home to a forever friend. Please check out the many shelters and rescue groups in your area.
Like with our own nutrition, we need to be mindful of our pet’s food intake for optimum health to keep their noses wet and their tails wagging. Choosing the right pet food for your dog or cat can be overwhelming. Seek advice from a knowledgeable pet store or pet professional who can help you match the perfect diet for your specific pet’s age and stage. Remember that just like people, dog metabolisms slow down as they age. Cats often pack on the pounds later in life too, try switching to a high protein diet which may help to prevent weight gain, so less willpower from pet parents is needed to resist overfeeding.
It is hard to say no to treats and extra servings when our pets love to thank us with nuzzles and kisses, but pet obesity is a major problem and continues to increase every year, so providing a nutrient-rich, whole food diet for your pet is important.
Pet ownership is one of the most joyful and rewarding experiences life has to offer. The bond between human and dog (cats too!) is a great one and the benefits are immeasurable, for both sides.