3 Ways to Improve Mental Health with Pets

older man and dog

Sometimes we think that owning a pet is a great way to add to our family or that we are doing our pet a service by saving them from an uncertain future. These alone are great reasons to own a pet; however, there are even more reasons to join the ranks of pet ownership. A pet can benefit you in so many ways: mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. While these are all important ways a pet can benefit you, a key benefit is to improve mental health. Of the individuals who benefit mentally from owning a pet, the elderly are worth a special mention. For many elders, living alone and feeling isolated are just a part of what they are experiencing during this stage of life.

Fight Depression and Anxiety

We all know that feeling isolated can lead to many other ailments. Of course, deterioration of the physical body is one of the downfalls of not getting out and socializing. However, mental deterioration in the form of panic, anxiety attacks, or even depression can set in for an elder who is isolated. Those feelings are alleviated with the company of a pet. Having a pet can improve mental health for an elder in many ways.

A Feeling of Vitality

An elder who owns a pet is more likely to have feelings of well being, peace, and a sense of vitality. A feeling that there is someone who needs caring for and tended to can make a huge difference, especially one who may have just recently lost a spouse they were caring for at home. When an elder loses a spouse, sometimes they lose their sense of purpose along with them. Owning a pet is a wonderful way to get that sense of purpose back into their lives.


Feeling isolated is one of the worst things an elder can experience; however, owning a pet can alleviate that sense of isolation. There are still some groomers who come to the home to groom pets. This gives the opportunity for the elder to have someone to share socialization. Walking a dog also offers the opportunity to get out and about for an elder who is capable of doing so. Sometimes a young teen in the area can come, walk the dog, and visit with the elder. It is a win-win situation all the way around. The teen may pick up some community service work and a few dollars as well.

The Dog Solution