Getting older? Time to get a dog

Marnie Banger
Regularly walking pets can help older people ward off heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia

Are you old and worried about being unfit and lonely too? It's time to get a pet.

The Council on the Ageing Victoria wants older people to know pets can encourage people to exercise, give them companionship and provide an opportunity to socialise - activities that can help ward off depression and anxiety.

The benefits of cats and dogs are relevant for people of all ages, COTA Victoria boss Tina Hogarth-Clarke said.

But she stressed that regularly walking the dog can help older people reduce the risk of experiencing falls and developing other conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.

"Walking with your dog and maintaining personal mobility is the key to living a healthy, independent and social life," Ms Hogarth-Clarke said.

To press the point, the organisation will launch a pet-sprinkling campaign at Victorian Parliament on Wednesday with Ageing Minister Luke Donnellan.