As pet parents, we reap all sorts of rewards. Now it looks like one of them is a sharper mind.
A recent study found that no matter the species, parenting a pet for more than five years may delay certain types of cognitive decline, including memory loss.
Although the reasons aren’t apparent, results of other studies provide some clues. We know that interacting with our pets reduces stress, which has multiple health benefits. Pet ownership also provides a sense of purpose and increases our physical activity, both of which cut the risk of dementia.
The findings show why it’s important to help people keep their pets. Supportive public policy measures could include getting rid of pet fees in rental housing and offering affordable veterinary care. Even providing boarding support when a pet parent faces a health emergency could save the day.