As baby-boomer pet parents reach retirement age it is common to think about putting aside the dog collars, pet clothing and dog harnesses and retire from being pet parents. This is especially common as a beloved pet may die. The usual questions of a grieving pet owner are magnified by older pet owners. The only real questions with younger owners concerns whether or not they miss the joy of pet ownership and whether they still possess the desire to take on the responsibility of another pet. As the pet parent ages, more questions have to be asked. The age and health of the human along with whether or not the needs of particular pets can be managed are the most important questions for aging pet parents.
The primary question concerns whether or not a pet is beneficial for aging people.
Many seniors crave and miss nurturing. Often, a lifetime of nurturing has defined a person, first as a parent, friend, spouse or grandparent. With children and grandchildren growing older, nurturing may no longer required on a personal basis. Senior citizens may find the circle of friends narrowing as interests change, people retire and move, and activities lessen. Having a pet to nurture, and providing that pet with food, comfort, exercise, toys, play and companionship can fill the void in a changing life.
As the years pass, people may find their lives boring and lonely. Having a pet cat or dog can fill this void. Taking care of a pet can provide meaning and provide positive feelings of caring for another being. A pet can provide structure missed by people following the routine of working outside of the home. Caring for a pet provides some structure: time to eat, time to play and go outside, time to be combed, time for naps. At the same time, the pet parent has a role: to take care of the pet. This sense of responsibility provides structure as well as a sense of being needed.
Another plus for seniors to have dogs, is for the protection a dog can give. Seniors are often prey for intruders since the resistance of a senior citizen is perceived as being lower and often it is known that there are less people living in the home. However with a dog, the fear of barking or being bitten inhibit the activities of intruders to that home. Research shows that homes with barking dogs are violated fewer times than homes without dogs. Dogs provide safety to seniors.
Another benefit of a senior owning a dog is that it makes them more active. Owning a dog will compel the senior to live a more active lifestyle then if they are by themselves. The dog will need to go outside to use the bathroom; feeding and grooming must take place. These simple activities will give the owner exercise. Matching the activity needs of the pet to the activity level of the owner is an important factor to consider in deciding what kind of pet or breed is best for both the senior and the pet.
Aging pet parents need to think about the future of their pets as time goes on. A plan for pet care should be arranged so that if a hospitalization is necessary, or a period of recovery in the home should occur, the needs of the pets need to be met in those circumstances. Pet care in the home of another, kennel care or acquiring the assistance of others to provide assistance in the home are all necessary elements of a pet care plan. Pet parents of every age, but especially senior citizens need to investigate alternatives in the dire case of having to give up the pet. This author strongly suggests that “no-kill” pet shelters need to be listed in the plan in the direst situations.
Overall, a senior owning a pet is an excellent idea. Dogs and cats provide excellent companions and safety to senior citizens. Studies show that seniors with pets are happier and live longer then seniors without pets. Preparing the home properly with crates, dog collars, cat harnesses and pet beds coupled with preparing plans for all contingencies will make for happy seniors and their happy pets.
Kay Catlett [http://www.PetCollarStoreAndMore.com]
I believe that as we are humane to our pets, they make us more human. My online pet store has carefully selected products at competitive prices.
I welcome your input on what products you like and want me to carry.
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