The aging population > 50 years has been continuing to increase over the years, with pet ownership being linked to better health outcomes in the age bracket, especially for individuals with chronic conditions.
Pet ownership patterns are evaluated among healthy community-dwelling older adults and the relationship of pet ownership to cognitive and physical functions and psychological status is compared.
A study of 378 individuals over the age of fifty completed various physical, cognitive and psychological tests, along with a pet ownership questionnaire. Most participants (82%) had kept pets and 24% have pets currently: 14% dogs, 12% cats, 3% other pets, the majority kept them for enjoyment and companionship
After controlling for age, pet ownership was associated independently with better cognitive function, dog ownership predicted better physical function, and cat ownership predicted better cognitive functioning. Even older adults who did not own pets (37%), but had regular contact with pets, was also related to better health outcomes.
Overall, pet ownership and/or regular contact with pets are associated with better cognitive status compared with those who did not own pets or had no regular contact with pets independent of age.
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Source: Vet Candy
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