Sunday, April 15, 2018

Should seniors be allowed to get young pets?

One of my best friends lost his long-time pet dog to cancer about six months ago, and he is now looking for a new dog. I am sure it is a good idea for him and his wife but he tells me that getting a new dog will make them happy. I told him I was not sure that getting a new pet was a good idea for the dog. Let’s face it some dogs and other pets may live for 15+ years. As seniors, there is no guarantee that we will outlive our pet. In Canada, the lifespan of a male is about 83.5 years and a female is about 86.6. My friend is in his 70’s and he may not beat the odds and live more than the average, so what happens to his pet when he dies?

This raised the question in my mind, should Seniors be allowed to have young pets? I know that in BC, some adoption agencies for pets, will not allow seniors to adopt young animals, because of the issue of illness and life-span. They will, however, allow seniors to adopt older pets. I personally think this is a good idea. There are many benefits of having a pet as a senior. Pet ownership can: Lower blood pressure, relieve stress, combat loneliness, ease depression, and encourage activity for seniors, Offer a greater sense of worth and offer security to their owners.
Pets for the Elderly Foundation gives results from the Baker Medical Research Institute, Australia’s largest cardiac centre, on its research page. Studies show that pet ownership:
· Reduced rates of developing heart disease
· Lowered cholesterol levels
· Reduced systolic blood pressure in female owner
There are some negatives that come with owning a pet. Roughly 86,000 injuries a year are reported in the United States due to pets, usually tripping over them. If your pets are anything like my brothers, when it is dinnertime, they are running circles around him. Also, going up and down steps with an energetic pet can lead to a fall. Also, drivers over the age of 70 are twice as likely to be involved in an accident if a pet is in the car. Pets also can contract diseases, so seniors with comprised immune systems may wish to look more into their personal conditions and the risks of having a pet.
When my friend and I talked about his desire to get a new pet, he told me that he and his wife had talked about it and had considered the following when they made their decision. He told me that they considered the health and age of the pet they were interested in owning? They considered the fact that young pets require attention and training, and they decided on an older pet, even though old pets require care and accommodation. They recognized that cats and dogs, depending on the breed, can live up to 15 or 20 years, and it was a commitment they were willing to make.
I asked him if they had thought about what would happen if they could no longer care for their pet? They had and they had a commitment from their daughter that she and her family would take the pet.
Finances are always an aspect of life, and pets require money just like anything else. Since his puppy died, my friend has done a lot of research looking for his ideal pet so he and his wife have an idea of what they are getting into. He does not want the new member of his family to become a financial burden.

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