When we own a pet, especially a dog, we have healthier hearts and a better diet. We get more physical exercise, and we see blood-sugar levels that are more normal. Pets reduce our level of stress and help us stick to routines.
Dogs help us fight isolation and loneliness by providing social interaction when we go out. Owning a pet can lower our blood pressure, and we’re less likely to have diabetes.
However, despite the positives of owning a pet, there are concerns — and some solutions to them — to consider before we adopt:
- Can you afford the food and veterinary care a dog requires? Ask the local food bank if it provides pet food. Look for a vet who offers senior discounts. Keep an eye out for annual vaccination clinics for low-cost immunizations.
- If a shelter dog has behavioral issues because of previous experiences, do you have enough patience to handle the necessary training? Inquire at the local pet store about training classes for any dog you adopt.
- Can you afford the initial shelter fees for an exam and spay or neuter, as well as the adoption fee? There’s an organization called Pets for the Elderly — petsfortheelderly.org — in 37 states that will help seniors over age 60 to cover the costs of adoption.
- Are you able to walk enough to give a dog the amount of exercise it needs? Talk to a neighbor. You might find one that will be quite happy to walk the dog when you can’t.