Why Pets Make Perfect Companions for the Elderly

Getting older can be a lonely time and should a partner or close friends pass away or move abroad, time can seem painfully slow and we may find ourselves feeling purposeless, especially if it’s becoming more and more difficult to physically leave the home. This is why many elderly people turn to pet adoption, options for comfort and companionship are not limited even at a ripe old age – there are always pets! Well known for their dedication to their owners and unmatched unconditional love, a dog, cat or other could really enhance the elderly lifestyle. 

That’s why Jaycliffe Pets are here to talk you through the plentiful benefits and other things to consider when deciding on whether or not to get a pet for the elderly. 

Dog with old man


Reasons why a pet could improve the well-being of a senior:

  • Reduce their sense of loneliness

The feeling of being alone and isolated from the world can cause depression, particularly with the elderly and so, the presence of a pet would help to alleviate these symptoms. Having a pet will fill a quiet home with the joyful sound of a playful bark or the purr of a cat and has the potential to bring some life and spirit back into their homes. Throwing a ball to a dog and watching them retrieve or dangle a piece of string in front of a cat can provide the elderly with fun and life-long companionship.

  • Improve their health both mentally and physically

Pets are known to help us humans relieve stress, the simple stroke of a dog or cat’s coat can help us to lift bad moods because it makes us release positive endorphins. Endorphins are electrical impulses that can act similar to the chemical reaction we have when we take a painkiller – which can help us to feel more at ease and decrease the level of pain one might be experiencing.

Pets have been known to: 

– Decrease blood pressure

– Decrease cholesterol levels

– Reduce feelings of loneliness

– Encourage exercise 

– Encourage socialisation

  • Provides a sense of purpose

Having something other than ourselves to think about, provides a sense of purpose. Feeding, playing and grooming a pet requires a level of competence, which means the elderly will feel that they have accomplished something during their day whilst keeping them pleasantly occupied.

– Mealtimes can become social, as they can eat at the same time as their pet

– Playtime with their pet, such as throwing the ball to keep both their own and their pet’s mind active

– Grooming will reduce the stress of the elderly person and keep their pet clean and prevent their fur from matting

Old lady with cat

Things to consider when buying a pet for the elderly:

  • If they’re not good with change
    An animal is likely to change the routine of the elderly, so the person must be adaptable and happy to change up their days
  • If they’ve never had a pet before
    Elderly people who have not had pets before might find it difficult to cater to the many needs of a pet. However, if they’re willing to learn then it’s likely they will become the best first-time pet owner.
  • If they have functional limitations that’ll make pet care impossible
    Should walking be quite an issue, it might be difficult for an elderly person to own a dog because they require frequent walks. It might be better for an elderly person with limited mobility to own a house cat or a cat that can have the run of the garden. 


How do I find the right pet for the elderly?

Although legitimate breeders are a good place to start, you may want to consider adoption from animal shelters or charities. Not only will your chosen friend be cheaper initially and potentially from senior discounts but you will have a better choice of age and temperament, as most people don’t want to adopt older pets – which is ideal when looking for a laid-back, content dog or cat who just wants a peaceful and easy life, like their potential owner. 


Jaycliffe Pets have a wealth of experience looking after and caring for pets. We provide your extended furry family with a home away from home, so that they’re well looked after and spoilt whilst you’re away. We have dog kennels and catteries, offer grooming services and a wide array of pet food, to ensure your pet’s dietary requirements are well catered to during their stay. For more information about our animal-loving team or to book in your pet, get in touch today.