Study Reveals Dogs Can Reduce Dementia Risk in Seniors by 40%

by Lisa

In a breakthrough revelation, researchers in Japan have unveiled compelling evidence supporting the age-old adage that a dog is indeed a man’s best friend. A study conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology has found that possessing a dog, regardless of its breed, can significantly decrease the risk of dementia in individuals aged 65 and above by an impressive 40 percent when compared to those without a furry companion.

Dementia, a debilitating condition characterized by severe memory loss and challenges in language, problem-solving, and cognitive functions, poses a significant threat to the elderly population. Alzheimer’s, the most prevalent form of dementia, accounts for 60-80 percent of cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association in the United States.


The comprehensive study, involving 12,000 residents in the bustling city of Tokyo, sheds light on the positive impact of dog ownership on cognitive health. The findings indicate that having a canine companion encourages increased outdoor activity, fostering more human-to-human interactions and providing essential brain exercise. These findings gain added significance in light of the World Health Organization’s report revealing that a staggering 55 million people worldwide are currently grappling with dementia.


Clinical psychologist Mehezabin Dordi from Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital affirmed the study’s findings, stating, “Interacting with dogs can reduce stress, increase physical activity, and enhance social connections, all of which are factors known to support cognitive function and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.”


Dordi further highlighted the emotional support derived from caring for a pet, emphasizing the positive impact on mental well-being, which may contribute to a decreased risk of cognitive decline. The active lifestyle associated with dog ownership, including regular walks and interactions with other dog owners, promotes better blood circulation, decreases inflammation, and supports the growth and maintenance of brain cells – all vital components for cognitive health.


According to Dordi, the act of nurturing and caring for a pet can effectively alleviate stress and anxiety. Interactions with dogs have been shown to lower cortisol levels and increase the production of oxytocin, often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone.

In essence, having a dog goes beyond providing companionship and emotional support; it offers a holistic approach to well-being. The routine, social interaction, stress reduction, and increased overall happiness associated with dog ownership emerge as integral components of psychological health. This research adds to the growing body of evidence highlighting the multifaceted benefits that our four-legged friends bring to the lives of older adults, reinforcing the timeless bond between humans and their canine companions.


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