While exercise and a balanced diet are vital for healthy aging, owning a pet can be just as important to good health later in life. According to new data from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, more than three-quarters of pet owners aged 50 to 80 said their animals reduce stress and two-thirds said their pets help them be physically active. Even more impressive was that for individuals who described their health as fair or poor, owning a pet seemed to provide greater benefits. Over 70 percent of these older adults claimed that their pet helps them manage physical or emotional symptoms – and 46 percent said their pets help take their mind off of pain.
Janevic M. How pets contribute to healthy aging. University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. April 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/148428.