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How Pets Benefit Senior Citizens

They’re happy to see you. They enjoy resting nearby and they offer communication through tail wags and rubbing against you. They’re our pets and they bring great joy and happiness to millions of households.senior-couple-and-dog

Although all pet owners experience the benefits of having a pet, there are specific ways that pets enrich the lives of the older population. Studies show that older people with pets are in better health and spirits than those without.

3 Ways Pets Benefit Older People

  • Companionship – It’s no surprise pets provide reliable companionship. Having a friend around to snuggle provides comfort and solace for older people, whether they live alone or with a partner. When you hold and pet an animal, your body releases endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals. Regularly stimulating the release of endorphins can help reduce arthritis pain, depression and other ailments.
  • Dogs encourage regular exercise – Taking a dog for a walk is a gentle form of exercise. If mobility is limited, dog owners can split the exercise into several short walks throughout the day. People who maintain consistency with their exercise benefit the most—both  physically and mentally. Physically, walking helps manage conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Mentally, exercise eases anxiety, sharpens memory and inspires creativity.
  • Protection—Many dogs will bark to alert their owners of potential intruders. Dogs can protect you while on a walk, and possibly even get help in the event of a critical situation such as a heart attack.

Ask Wellness Summer 2013

Q. At what age (if at all) should I switch my dogs to the Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors recipe? I have a Rottie and a Jack Russell Terrier who are turning 7 this year.

A. Dogs today are living longer than ever before, however, veterinarians still consider large breeds to be seniors at about 8 years of age, so most of that extended life will be as a senior. Your Jack Russell terrier, a small breed dog, would usually be considered a senior at 9-10 years of age.

A recipe such as Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors would be a good choice for your Rottie because it provides moderate protein, fewer calories and supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3 essential fatty acids, pre and probiotics and more to help slow the aging process. The Wellness® Complete Health Small Breed Senior recipe would cater to your Jack Russell terrier by providing the same age-specific vitamins & minerals as our other senior recipes while featuring a smaller kibble size.

In addition to feeding a senior diet that’s lower in calories, regularly exercising your older dogs is essential. It helps keep muscles toned, stimulates the heart and lungs and burns any additional calories to help maintain a lean body. The earlier you get your dogs started on a senior recipe, the more positive benefits you’ll notice.

How to Pet Proof Your Living Room for a New Puppy or Kitten

It’s fun to bring home a new puppy or kitten. You can cuddle them, introduce them to family members, post pictures on Facebook and spoil them silly!

What’s not fun is when they chew something they shouldn’t—remote controls, shoes and  window blinds come to mind. Puppies and kittens are naturally curious. They’ll explore the nooks and crannies that even your vacuum may not have seen lately, and they’ll learn about new things by putting them in their mouths.

So, how do you pet proof your home? Each room will require a slightly different strategy and in this post we’ll focus on your living room. It’s a good idea to take some time before your new furry family member arrives and give your home a critical eye.

5 Steps to Pet Proofing Your Living Room

1) Pick up shoes and stow them in a closet or bin. Puppies are notorious chewers, but kittens may find shoelaces irresistible too. Plus, without house training, they may find shoes to be excellent places to “mark” their territory. Yuck!

2) Remove breakables. It only takes a swish of a tail or a bat of a paw to knock your porcelain or other fragile knick-knacks off tables or mantles. Not only will you be left with shards of glass to clean up, but Mimi could step on them and get cut.

3) Pick up children’s toys. To prevent pets from potentially choking on smaller pieces, store action figures and building toys in a box with a lid when playtime is over.

4) Identify and research your houseplants. Many common plants and flowers are poisonous to pups and kittens so they could get sick from gnawing on the petals or leaves. You may want to swap any questionable plants for safe ones, or store certain plants in a room with a closed door.

5) Give your new furry friend a soft cushion or pet bed in your living room. Your pets want to be with you and they’ll appreciate a cozy place nearby to call their own.

What pet proofing tips have you’ve gained from experience? Do you have a photo of your pet lounging in his or new digs? Share them on our Facebook page!