There are a multitude of studies about the benefits of owning a pet. For those who already own a pet, this is not a surprise. Below are a few of the many reasons to celebrate our canine companions!

Unconditional Love

In one survey, when asked about the most important benefit of owning a pet was, “unconditional love.” Who can argue with that?

Just as important were feelings of having a purpose, providing comfort, and getting people up and out to take their dogs for a walk. In fact, studies have shown that dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than their pet-less peers! Having a dog also reduces the risk of a heart attack.

Dogs can also be a great social “icebreaker.” A great way to meet and get to know people can happen when you are taking your pooch for a walk. They are also great for keeping your day structured and organized. You know you must get up several times a day to take your best friend for a walk– and don’t forget about mealtimes! Dogs and cats, like humans, thrive on structure.

Pets Help Relieve Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation

During the pandemic, nearly 60% of older Americans reported feeling lonely. That number has improved to about 37% in 2023, however that still represents over one-third of the population.

The company of a dog or cat can help people feel less lonely. Not only can pets provide reassuring nuzzles and emotional support, but they are also the perfect companions for older adults who live alone. In fact, research has found that older adults who reported owning a pet were 36% less likely to report loneliness than older adults who don’t have pets.

Pets can Speed up Recovery

Studies suggest that a positive outlook can speed recovery after an illness or injury. Pets are so good at helping us see the bright side that many hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care communities have established pet visitation programs for patients. Dogs are especially effective at helping older patients who have physical disabilities.

Another study by the University of Michigan, sponsored by AARP, found that 70% of older adults said their pet helps them cope with physical or emotional symptoms, and 46% said their pets help take their mind off of pain.

Emotional Support

Many people, of all ages, have adopted pets as emotional support animals. They provide comfort for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other challenges. They can also serve as service pets – becoming the eyes for the blind, ears for the deaf and an early warning signal of danger!

PPH is proud to have recently updated the pet policy to include small dogs. We already have our first “dog resident” named Madi and enjoy seeing her around the community. We know that Madi will soon have additional “dog residents” to keep her company!

Madi and her mom Barbara