“While pets are undoubtedly good for some people, there is presently insufficient evidence to support the contention that, as a group, pet owners are healthier or happier or that they live longer than non-pet owners” his report noted.
Despite this, Dr Smith says having a pet (especially a dog that you need to walk), encourages physical activity in aspects of pet care.
“There are also physiological benefits (such as lowered heart rates, and release of ‘feel good’ hormones) from being around and petting animals,” he says.
That said, it’s the responsible thing to not over emphasise the relationship between pets and health or “cherry pick” only the positive aspects, he says.
“The welfare of the pets is of upmost importance and some people may not be up for all that comes with ownership. Certainly, it would not be advisable to ‘prescribe’ pet ownership to people expecting all the positive benefits.”
However Dr Smith says although he considers himself a big supporter of retirement communities allowing pets, he also understands a reluctance by some to allow pets into their villages. “Not everyone likes pets/animals, and so a small community must consider the needs of all. The welfare of the animal must also be considered. We need to ensure the pets receive the best care available. I suppose the management team need to determine whether the benefits of pets to some, outweigh the negative aspects to all.”
Aveo communities are pet friendly, subject to approval.