Having a pet keeps you smarter longer in old age, research suggests

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Researchers found over the six years is that cognitive scores declined more slowly in pet owners, particularly long-term pet owners. Photo: Pexels


(Liz Braun/ Toronto Sun) — As you age, Fido can help keep you sharp.

New research from the University of Michigan has found that long-time pet owners in their mid-60s had higher cognitive scores than people of the same age group without pets.

For the Health and Retirement Study, “long-term” meant longer than five years.

“Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” said study author Dr. Tiffany Braley of the University of Michigan Medical Center, in a release from the American Academy of Neurology.

“Our results suggest pet ownership may also be protective against cognitive  decline.”

The participants, who were followed over six years, all had average cognitive skills at the start of the study. (…)

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