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Having a companion dog means never being alone. Not only can walking a dog make someone feel less detached, but it can also be a way to meet other people. It’s a documented fact that petting a dog causes our brain to release endorphins creating better mental and emotional health by lowering depression and stress. According to many studies conducted about seniors with and without pets, those with pets have lower blood pressure, a lower incidence of heart disease, fewer medical issues in general and recover more quickly from illness and surgery. Walking a dog increases our need for daily activity thereby improving our health physically. Additionally, senior pet parents tend to sleep better.
Having to take care of a dog is a big responsibility. But that's actually a GOOD THING! The routine of feeding, walking, and nurturing a dog may give a person something more positive to focus their attention on, making life in general way more pleasant.
As a trainer, I work with many, many senior dog parents and it always delights me to see how devoted they are to their puppies or adult dogs and the other way around. Much more time is devoted to the family dog when kids are grown and gone on their own, retirement is in place and time to spend with the dog is not limited. But here are some of my concerns as I see them routinely, and suggestions on what works best.
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