We’ve heard it all– dogs are a man’s best friend, an angel without wings, the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. Not only can dogs bring you daily joy, but they can also improve your quality of life as well. At Inspired Living we recognize the importance of a pet-friendly assisted living community, so we allow small pets, with approval.

Here are 5 reasons why a dog improves your quality of life:

1. Providing Animal Care Creates Healthy Routines:  Studies have found that following a routine can improve your quality of life, especially if you are a senior. Having a routine can minimize stress by providing predictability in one’s day. This predictability leads to a greater sense of independence, building confidence and reducing stress. Dogs help people to implement routines of daily living because they depend on you for all of their daily needs. Being needed provides a sense of purpose, which routines fulfill.

2. Walking the Dog is Great Exercise: The scientific benefits of exercise are well documented. It’s no secret that exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, joint swelling, pain, and poor blood pressure. It also improves cognition, staves off memory loss and thus dementia. Dogs love to exercise too! A daily walk is a great way for both you and your canine companion to get a healthy walk. Keep in mind, different dogs have different activity levels. Your local pet shelter would be happy to help you find a pet that matches your needs.

3. Dogs Are Wonderful Companions: Over a lifetime, loneliness is inevitable at some point. It’s important to avoid loneliness, however, as it can lead to dementia, high blood pressure and depression. One way to keep from being lonely is to have a canine companion who will always be there for you. Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason! Your pup is dedicated to being your loyal partner and being a dog owner brings opportunities for conversations. Strangers will love asking about your dog: “What is its name?” “What type of dog is it?” “Can we have a playdate?” Not only will your dog be your friend, but it will help you to make connections with human friends as well!

4. Dogs Provide Protection: Dogs consider their humans to be a part of their pack and will inherently protect them from harm. Dogs are also very intelligent animals. They’ve got the ability to pick up on our body language and voices to translate an emotion or situation and are even more capable when they have been properly trained. Their sense of smell and hearing are much better than ours, so they will alert you when someone approaches your door and the bark of even the least intimidating dog can scare away a predator.

5.Another Way to Spell Stress-Relief: DOG: Studies show that simply petting a dog can boost endorphins in your body, enhancing your mood and reducing your stress levels. It isn’t only the comfort of feeling more secure with them on a lead by your side, but also, dogs are proven to scientifically support your health by reducing your blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol too.

There are many benefits to pet-friendly senior living – but having a fur baby involves some work and responsibility. That said, sometimes work and responsibility is exactly what we need for an improved quality of life. Inspired Living is happy to welcome you and your furry companion to your new home! If you don’t have a pet – no worries, our communities invite pet therapists to visit and brighten residents’ days.  To quote one of our residents, “Lucy, is part of my family and I am so glad I could bring her with me.” Contact us today to schedule a visit to one of our pet-friendly communities!

-Written by Shannon Wheeler