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The benefits of pet ownership (when you're retired)

Retirement  |  10/10/2016  |   2 min read

While retirement is something that most people look forward to, it can also leave a considerable gap in your schedule. 

Pet ownership can help make the transition a more active, fun, and social experience. That’s the advice from medical experts, and we couldn’t agree more. So here are five great reason to think about pet ownership in retirement.

1.    Social benefits: Taking your dog for a walk is a great excuse to get out of the house and meet new people. Local dog parks tends to be social hubs, and pets are a great excuse to strike up a conversation. If you’re missing the comradery of the 9-5 work day this an opportunity to socialise and get some fresh air.

2.    Routine: If you’re used to a daily routine, suddenly finding yourself with all the time in the world can be a little intimidating. Having a pet that needs daily feeding, walks, and the like can give you a sense of structure.

3.    Exercise: An obvious one, but well worth a mention. Walking your dog for one hour every day can provide considerable health benefits including better fitness, improved blood pressure and decreased cholesterol levels.

4.    Companionship: Loneliness is an increasingly common problem in Australia, affecting all age groups and segments of society. Transitioning into retirement can be a particularly challenging time and leave you feeling isolated. Having a friendly face to greet you when you return home, whether it’s a cat, puppy, or pet alpaca can do wonders for your outlook.

5.    Reduced stress:  Repeated studies have shown that pet ownership can help reduce stress and anxiety. In one example, the presence of a pet during a stressful task was more effective than having a partner or friend with participants. 

And let’s not forget about the pets themselves. Retirees often choose slightly older pets, whose energy levels and demeanour are a little less excitable than a puppy or kitten. That means older animals who may otherwise be relegated to a pound or euthanized are given a second lease on life. 

You can find out more by visiting the RSCPA website.

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