Connect with us

Pet Care

One in 10 older adults have gotten a ‘pandemic pet’, poll finds

10% of all people between the ages of 50 and 80 got a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021.

Published

on

Photo by Alina Vilchenko from Pexels.com

A lot of the attention around “pandemic pets” has focused on families with children getting a cat, dog or other pet in 2020, during a time when many people were learning or working from home.

But a new poll shows that older adults also got in on the trend.

According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, 10% of all people between the ages of 50 and 80 got a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021.

The percentage was indeed higher – 16% — among the people in this age range who have at least one child or teen living with them. But the vast majority of people between the ages of 50 and 80 don’t live with someone under age 18 — and nearly 9% of them also got a pet during the pandemic.

All told, 59% of people age 50 to 80 who completed the poll in January 2021 are pet owners. Among those who said in January that they are pet owners, 17% had gotten at least one pet since the pandemic began. The poll did not ask if this was their first pet or an additional pet.

Pet ownership was higher among those age 50 to 64, women, white respondents and those who live in single-family detached homes or are employed. Twelve percent of older adults who are employed said they got a pet since March 2020.

The poll is based at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and receives support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center.

The new data are an update to a previous report by the poll team, published in April 2019. That full report showed that older adults say having a pet helps them enjoy life, reduce stress, have a sense of purpose, and stick to a routine, as well as connect with other people and be physically active, especially for dog owners. Among those older adults who lived alone or were in fair or poor health when the 2019 poll was done, nearly three-quarters said the pet helped them cope with physical or emotional symptoms.

Of those who live alone, the percent having a pet jumped 12 points between the sample reported in 2019 and the January 2021 sample. The role of pets as companions for older adults living alone is an important one, especially during the pandemic when many older adults stayed home because of their higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 if they caught the coronavirus.

Poll director Preeti Malani, M.D., has first-hand experience with getting a “pandemic puppy” to join her family, which includes a high schooler studying at home. It’s the first time they’ve had any type of pet.

Malani notes that on the one hand, her family’s new dog has demanded more attention than they might have expected – especially given that she and her husband are busy physicians working both remotely and face to face with patients. But on the other hand, walking, playing and cuddling with the dog has been a welcome distraction during troubling times.

“Sully has been a great addition,” she says. “He makes sure we get outside every day. I’ve also met several other dog owners in the neighborhood.”

The animal shelter nearest the University of Michigan, the Humane Society of Huron Valley, has seen record-high adoption rates in the past year, says Wendy Welch, director of communications.

“We are delighted to see not just worthy animals get homes, but also to see people get much needed unconditional love as well,” she says. “While grandparents have sadly been separated from hugging their grandchildren, furry friends have been okay to snuggle. It’s well documented that pets can help lower our blood pressure, ease anxiety and improve symptoms of depression. And of particular interest during this isolating pandemic, companion animals certainly stave off the silent killer: loneliness. We are so thankful to the older adults who’ve opened up their hearts and homes to shelter animals during this time.”

The poll data from January come from a sample of 2,019 people, similar in size to the sample reported in the previous pet report.

Pet Care

5 Ways to give your cat a purr-fect life

For all the companionship, humor and happiness cats bring, they deserve a purr-fect life, full of tasty treats and quality time with their favorite humans.

Published

on

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

With playful and spunky personalities, cats are known for keeping people entertained. Whether they’re breaking the internet in the latest viral video or making pet parents smile with a spontaneous snuggle, feline friends can be a constant source of joy.

For all the companionship, humor and happiness cats bring, they deserve a purr-fect life, full of tasty treats and quality time with their favorite humans.

For more ways to treat your cat and tips to help make your cat’s life paw-some, visit TemptationsTreats.com.

Provide a Comfortable Environment
To help make sure time with your cats is fun and enjoyable, create an environment they’ll feel comfortable in. Give cats a designated space to call their own, including beds and plenty of toys to help them feel safe and at home. When they’re more comfortable in their space, they’ll likely be more inclined to snuggle and play.

Cuddle Up
Cats are independent creatures and sometimes keep cuddling on their own terms. To encourage snuggles in a way both cats and their humans can enjoy, try offering goodies they’ll love. It can be served as a snack, given by hand or used as a cat food topper to make mealtimes more exciting. When given by hand, it gives cats and their owners a unique bonding experience and allows for more quality time together.

Make Time for Play
Every day should include time for fun. With their attentive nature, many cats enjoy mentally and physically engaging activities. Try finding toys your cats enjoy, like a feather on a string, or throw around a stuffed mouse to give your cats some pouncing practice.

Feed Your Cat’s Feline Instincts
To satisfy your cats’ natural carnivorous feline instincts, consider offering a satisfying snack treats. Try hiding the treats around the house and letting your cats prowl and hunt them down like easy prey.

Be Consistent
Many cats are creatures of habit and value consistency, so create a daily routine to help your pets feel more comfortable. Try offering meals at the same time each day or scheduling consistent time to kick back and relax with your furry friends each evening.

Continue Reading

Pet Care

How to help manage pet separation anxiety

To help pet parents identify separation anxiety in their pets and embrace alone time, consider these tips from Dr. Crista Coppola, PetSmart’s consulting animal behaviorist and separation anxiety expert.

Published

on

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam from Unsplash.com

For more than a year, working from home and keeping social circles small due to COVID-19 has meant people have been able to spend more time with their pets. However, as more people are vaccinated and restrictions loosen across the country, it’s likely many are spending less time at home with their pets. As a result, pet parents should be prepared to spot the signs of separation anxiety and help their pets manage.

When left at home alone, pets can exhibit behaviors that could indicate they’re experiencing separation anxiety. It’s not a new problem, but it can become more pronounced as pet parents begin to spend less time at home, whether they’re returning to work full-time or just leaving the house more often. It may be especially challenging for pets that found their forever homes during the pandemic, as being alone may be a stark contrast to what they’ve become accustomed to. In these cases, pets may struggle to learn how to cope with being by themselves.

To help pet parents identify separation anxiety in their pets and embrace alone time, consider these tips from Dr. Crista Coppola, PetSmart’s consulting animal behaviorist and separation anxiety expert.

How to Identify Separation Anxiety

Changes in behavior are some of the most common indicators of separation anxiety. These behaviors are coping mechanisms and can include excessive barking or whining, destruction near exit points or windows, having accidents around the house, hyper salivating, pacing, decreased appetite and depression. To better understand what your pet is experiencing, consider setting up a video camera when you leave to see how he or she behaves when you’re not there.

Ways to Prepare Your Pet for Separation

Unpredictability has been shown to add stress for many animals, including dogs, Coppola said. Routines, however, can help many pets cope with stressful situations. Because a vacation or long weekend getaway involves a change in your pet’s routine, these seemingly small changes can make him or her susceptible to separation anxiety. If you know change is coming, slowly introduce your pet to the idea of being alone beforehand to help your four-legged friend prepare. Start by taking short trips outside your home without your pet – even if just for a few minutes – and consider leaving treats or toys to help make the alone time more enjoyable.

When you are ready to leave the house, set up a cozy, inviting space for your pet, where he or she can’t destroy items or get hurt trying to escape. Consider a non-carpeted area in case of accidents or install a doggie door to allow for going outside when necessary. Prior to any period of alone time, mentally and physically engaging your pet by going for a walk or run, or working on quick trick training, can make it more likely he or she spends at least some of the time you’re gone resting.

While you’re gone,  Coppola recommends providing your pets with enrichment activities such as puzzles, chews and calming aids.

Solutions for Coping with Anxiety

If your pet is excessively barking or exhibiting destructive behaviors, never punish him or her and avoid expressing disappointment or frustration, Coppola said. It is understandable to feel this way, but it can upset your pet further and add to the stress he or she may already be feeling. Instead, spend time having fun together when you are home to help ease the transition by gradually introducing your pet to the amount of time left alone.

Learn more and find additional solutions to help deal with separation anxiety at petsmart.com/newnormal.

Continue Reading

Pet Care

Make nutrition a priority for your pet

Providing your cherished companion with a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life.

Published

on

Photo by @chewy from Unsplash.com

As a dog or cat parent, you are responsible for your pet’s well-being and making good decisions about what’s best for him or her. Providing your cherished companion with a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life.

A balanced pet food recipe formulated with high-quality ingredients provides your pet with the optimal mix of the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals he or she needs to thrive. For premium quality, look for recipes that are minimally processed; made with fresh meats, poultry and fish; and contain no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.

While the quality of ingredients is important, it’s also crucial to choose a recipe that is specific to your pet’s life stage and breed size. This helps ensure it contains the right balance of nutrients to meet your pet’s specific needs, including hip and joint support and weight management as he or she gets older.

Puppy and kitten recipes are specially formulated with higher levels of protein and essential fats to help support the needs of growing pets. Conversely, adult and senior pets may benefit from diets that are lower in calories and fats to help maintain a healthy weight as their metabolisms and activity levels slow.

Large breed dogs may also benefit from ingredients in their diets like glucosamine, chondroitin and green-lipped mussels to support healthy hips and joints as they age. Smaller kibble and breath freshening ingredients like parsley and peppermint are often well-suited for small breed dogs.

By choosing carefully balanced pet foods made with premium ingredients, you can take nutrition to another level for your pet. One example is Now Fresh recipes for dogs and cats. Each kibble recipe is made using fresh, de-boned muscle meat and no by-product or meat meals. The recipes also feature more than 20 nutrient-rich superfood ingredients.

Consider the important benefits superfoods can provide your pet and look for ingredients such as:

  • Whole nest-laid eggs: Eggs are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids in the optimal amounts dogs and cats need.
  • Pumpkin: Rich in beta-carotene and prebiotic fiber, pumpkin helps support healthy digestion.
  • Blueberries: A great source of essential fiber and manganese, blueberries are also rich in antioxidants that help support healthy immune systems.
  • Pomegranate: This fruit is rich in antioxidants and a good source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K.
  • Papaya: A tropical fruit, papaya is a natural source of digestive enzymes.
  • Cranberries: With antioxidants to support immunity and antimicrobial properties, which can help support urinary tract health.
  • Strawberries: An excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins, dietary fiber and essential minerals.

When selecting the right food for your pet, look for a statement on the packaging that confirms it has been formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. An option like Now Fresh also clearly indicates on the package which life stage and breed size the recipe has been formulated for.

Learn more about pet nutrition at NowFresh.com.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Like Us On Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Most Popular

Copyright ©FRINGE PUBLISHING. All rights reserved.