The benefits of having a dog for a senior There are many benefits to seniors of owning a dog, and the AARP explains that they include staying more physically fit, socially engaged, and mentally grounded. All of these perks come naturally as part of owning and caring for a dog and only require that the owner is mobile enough to go for a daily walk. Studies from the Gerontologist have shown that dog owners tend to get more exercise than people without a dog simply because they are more likely to go for walks if their pet enjoys them. Having a consistent walking routine is incredibly important for all adults, but especially for seniors to help prevent mobility issues and health problems stemming from a sedentary lifestyle. It often results in fewer chronic conditions, a lower body fat index, and fewer visits to the doctor. Dogs also act as a natural social lubricant and provide an excellent excuse for seniors to stop and talk to neighbors and children in the community. This behavior is great for keeping up outside relationships and creates a bigger social network to call on for help during a time of need. It's good for the dog as well because they often enjoy meeting new people and getting the extra attention. Aging can cause mental stress for seniors, and AgingCare.com explains that pet ownership provides a lot of intangible benefits to the owner because pets are always living in the here and now, are almost always happy, and have unwavering love and affection for their owners. This kind of behavior can rub off on an owner and studies have shown that they are less likely to suffer from depression or loneliness. Psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld has also seen many cases of seniors showing improved memory as a direct result of caring for and playing with a new pet.