With August 21 being Senior Citizen Day, it’s a good excuse to think about the benefits of animals for the elderly. Four-legged friends like cats and dogs can be more than just pets for older pet-owners. Studies have shown that pets can contribute markedly in making their masters healthier physically and mentally.

Benefits of Pets to Senior Citizens

Consider these findings:

1. When a senior citizen interacts with a pet on a daily basis, studies imply that cholesterol levels of the elderly go down.

2. Elderly people who have minor health problems tend to require fewer visits to their doctors when they own a pet.

3. Studies suggest that those who care for pets live longer lives than those who do not.

4. Male senior citizens with pets have fewer episodes of heart disease compared to those who have no pets. Likewise, some studies suggest that pet owners are less likely to fall victim to a heart attack.

5. In stressful situations, seniors are more able to control their blood pressure when accompanied by their pets.

6. Feelings of loneliness and depression in seniors often decrease with pet ownership.

Seniors should consider a number of factors before choosing a pet. They should ensure that their physical abilities are matched to the pet’s needs. If potential owners have limited mobility, for example, a pet that requires a lot of exercise may not be a good choice. If a person has disabilities or impairments, a specially-trained therapy dog may be worth looking into. Finances should also be considered. A small puppy may be cute but can cost hundreds of dollars the first year alone. A pet’s temperament is also important. A hyper or aggressive dog may not be a good match.

To find the right pet at the right price, visit www.Purina.com. The company’s 55+ pet program helps seniors adopt pets at low prices or for free. Petfinder.com is also a helpful national service for matching the right owner with the right animal in their area.