Are you ever too old to own a pet?

Owning a pet can be enriching in so many ways and pets can be invaluable companions but there are drawbacks too, especially as we age.

Here are some of the important questions that should be considered before taking on a pet as we get older.

Physical Benefits

Pets are known to help lower blood pressure, keep cholesterol levels down and help with depression and loneliness.

They can help owners keep active, from walking the dog to playing with the cat, to caring for their basic needs such as feeding, grooming, cleaning up after them. Pets can also benefit their owners by making it easier to create new friendships.

Emotional Benefits

Older people generally take better care of themselves when they own a pet.  This includes maintaining a regular schedule, and everything that comes with it regarding sleep, eating, and exercise.

Looking after a pet adds purpose or meaning to life, giving a sense of being wanted or needed and pets offer a sense of security and friendship to their owner, regardless of age.

Risk of injury

The risk of accidentally tripping over increases as we age and having an energetic pet makes this more even more likely.

Statistically people who are aged 75 and over are most likely to be injured by falls involving their pets with women being 2.1 times more likely to suffer injuries such as fractures and abrasions, usually to hands, arms and legs.

Pets also can contract diseases, so older people with comprised immune systems may wish to look more into their personal conditions and the risks of having a pet.

Some questions older people should consider before owning a pet

Walking, access to outside, exercise: Possibly one of the biggest concerns, especially for dog owners – A fit and healthy 75 year old may be able to take an energetic young dog for a walk now but will they be able to keep up the same level of exercise their dog will need in say 5 or 10 years time?

Health concerns:  Day after day of taking care of a pet can be challenging if you are in a state of poor health. Grooming, giving pills, cleaning ears, or putting in eye medication becomes more difficult with slower and possibly arthritic hands.

Rising costs: The cost of pet food is rising all the time. Add to that flea products, boosters and so on. Can the cost of caring for a pet be sustained or could they become a financial burden on you?

What would happen if you could no longer care for your pet?  Do you have friends or family that would accept the pet if needed?

Owning a pet is something that should be considered very carefully and each person will need to decide for themselves whether a pet is right for their age and situation in life.

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