Associations of Pet Ownership with Biomarkers of Ageing in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

13 Feb 2018

Objective To examine the prospective relation between animal companionship and biomarkers of ageing in older people. Design Analyses of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, an ongoing, open, prospective cohort study initiated in 2002-03. Setting Nationally representative study from England. Participants 8785 adults (55% women) with a mean age of 67 years (SD 9) at pet ownership assessment in 2010-11 (wave 5). Main outcome measure Established biomarkers of ageing in the domains of physical, immunological, and psychological function, as assessed in 2012-13 (wave 6). Results One third of study members reported pet ownership: 1619 (18%) owned a dog, 1077 (12%) a cat, and 274 (3%) another animal. After adjustment for a range of covariates, there was no evidence of a clear association of any type of pet ownership with walking speed, lung function, chair rise time, grip strength, leg raises, balance, three markers of systemic inflammation, memory, or depressive symptoms. Conclusion In this population of older adults, the companionship of creatures great and small seems to essentially confer no relation with standard ageing phenotypes.psychological biomarkers of ageing.