Pets are Great for Seniors – Not to Mention the Rest of Us

Pets bring us so much joy. Studies have shown that pets not only help bring blood pressure down but they help us live longer. As we get older we usually want to reduce our number of responsibilities. However, the responsibility of a pet not only helps an older person feel there is a purpose in their life, the pet gives the older person another reason to live.  That is why pets are great for seniors.

Pets are great for seniors

Mom talking to our border collie, Buffy. Image credit: G Gamble

Cats and small dogs seem to be the favorite pets for most seniors. My 92-year-old Aunt Nell lives in a retirement center that allows small pets. Retirement centers are great for getting seniors out to socialize with others. Pets are great for seniors because they fill that personal void. Sometimes we don’t want to be with other humans but need that silent companion that is there for us and loves us no matter what.

Pets are great for seniors

Aunt Nell with her beloved poodle, Babette. Image credit: G Gamble

PETS are great for seniors and DO SO MUCH FOR all of US

Pets help us deal with the frustrations of life. When we pet our dog or cat, a relaxation hormone is released. This decreases the cortisol (the stress hormone) in our systems and our blood pressure can drop as well. Seniors that own pets get less lonely and actually make fewer trips to the doctor.

Pets greet us when we come home. They give us unconditional love that we don’t get in the outside world. Pets listen to us and don’t complain. They comfort us when we’re down. In my world, a pet makes a house a real home.


My neighbor, Irene, is a senior. She has a beautiful white cat named Sophie. Irene had several feral cats in the neighborhood spayed and neutered and she feeds them daily. They are her extended family and they give her purpose and great satisfaction.

My parents loved animals. When my Dad’s health failed we all moved in together. I had two big dogs and at first, Dad fussed about them being in the house. However, he soon softened and became attached to them. When Dad passed I became involved in animal rescue. Our two dogs quickly became five and Mom loved it. She used to tell me that the dogs followed her through the house like baby geese following a mother goose.

Mom with four of our five dogs. She loved them so much! Image credit: G Gamble

The dogs gave Mom purpose and they became her kids. She loved them dearly and enjoyed their company. I believe they helped Mom deal with the loss of my Dad. They also helped me deal with the loss of my Mom.

Pets are way more important to our lives than most people realize. They give us unconditional love, companionship, and comfort. Pets entertain us with their antics. They bring life to our homes and make great playmates for our children. Pets are great for seniors because they give them purpose, companionship, and most important of all love.

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