By Laurie Edwards-Tate
Americans love their dogs. Four out of ten households in the U.S. own at least one dog, a total of 77.5 million dogs. Study after study finds that pets bring many benefits to people. They offer companionship, encourage exercise, foster social contact, and help people cope with stress.
Pets provide special enrichment to the lives of seniors. A study in the Journal of American Geriatrics demonstrated that “seniors living on their own who have pets tend to have better physical health and mental well-being than those who don’t. They are more active, cope better with stress and have better overall health. They also reported shorter hospital stays and less health care costs than non-pet owners.”
In another study by British psychologist Dr. Deborah Wells, she confirms through a review of numerous health studies that pet owners are in better general health than people who do not own pets.