Vitamin D: Seniors Enjoy Health Benefits From Dog Ownership

Good news! Dogs are good for you! (Duh!) But this study makes it official, as findings suggest dog walking is linked to better physical health for senior citizens.

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Seniors and dogs make sense for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the wonderful comfort and camaraderie a loving dog seems purpose-made to give. But companionship is only one reason why older people should head to their local shelters and rescue groups to find a new best friend.

A recent study by the University of Missouri (and published in The Gerontologist) says that older people who form strong bonds with their dogs tend to exercise longer and more often.

Among the findings, dog walking was linked to lower body mass indexes and fewer doctor visits, older dog owners were found to be less burdened by physical limitations during their daily living activities — as well as more social, as dogs offer a means to meet other dog owners.

Rebecca Johnson, the study’s senior author and a professor at the university, told the medical journal that the study’s results could provide the basis for medical professionals to recommend pet ownership for older adults and that this idea could be translated into reduced health care expenditures for the aging population.

Retirement communities that encourage pet-friendly policies, she noted, walking trails and exercise areas for example, could help boost resident health.

11 thoughts on “Vitamin D: Seniors Enjoy Health Benefits From Dog Ownership

  1. I disagree with this suggestion.
    Far too often I’ve seen countless puppies and dogs end up in shelters only to be euthanized after their owner passed away. Typically the surviving family members don’t want the pet , so they take the pet to a shelter or worse they abandon it.
    Even if the Senior adopts a Senior dog thinking well it’s a senior …. the odds of a senior dog getting adopted are very low.
    Great idea providing a family member or friend will take in the pet as their own. Giving the dog / cat a loving safe healthy forever home ♡

  2. I think it would be awesome if a group of seniors could go to shelters and walk and play with animals.not only benefit them but homeless animals as well

  3. Having a dog is a blessing. But they are a great expense to a senior who is often on a fixed income. And if the master is sick, who will care for the pet? The older people get the more health problems they seem to have. Pets are a terrific idea IF you can afford one.

  4. I certainly am walked by my dogs every day and made to stand up , go into garden etc. Without these guys I would be the ultimate couch potato ?

  5. I am 69 years young and I have a 6 year old pomeranian plus I volunteer 6 hours daily (4 days weekly) and I attend college 2 evenings weekly. My dog also keeps me going my incentive to get up and walk (live on 2nd floor) good exercise and you meet so many people when you have dog also. He also takes good care of me even when I do not feel well, gives me encouragement to go on no matter what the circumstances are.

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