There is nothing quite like the loyalty of a dog or the cuteness of a curled-up lap cat. But when is a good time to become a pet owner? Several studies have indicated that pet ownership can have benefits in any stage of life.

A study by researchers in Canada measured whether companion animals were associated with changes in physical and psychological health in older people and concluded that pet ownership could help maintain or even slightly enhance physical health. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Another study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine evaluated 240 married couples, half of whom owned a pet. It then tested heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline, when doing mental arithmetic and during a cold pressor test (a cardiovascular test typically performed by immersing the hand into an ice water container, usually for one minute, and measuring changes in blood pressure and heart rate).

It concluded that people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels at baseline and significantly smaller increases from baseline during the tests. It also found that people with pets had a faster recovery. Further, a scientific statement from the American Heart Association found that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease based on numerous factors.

Lastly, several studies have indicated that pet ownership can have a positive impact on depression and anxiety, according to a report published in Frontiers in Psychology. And, while it may be no surprise, a study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research found that older adults who reported higher pet attachment had less loneliness.

So whether considering playing fetch with Fido the dog or chasing some (toy) mice with Max the cat, science has shown there could be plenty of health benefits when adding a new four-legged friend to the family.

© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.