Senior citizens who enjoy independent living may find the companionship and health benefits of pets worthwhile, but the CDC warns that animals in the home can also lead to an increase in falls.
One out of every three falls in seniors leads to a broken bone, and about 21,000 have to go to the emergency room each
year because of a pet-related fall.
Dr Thomas Cavalieri says that fractures are particularly dangerous for older people, as they could lead to "an extended period of convalescence, or even permanent disability or premature death."
Some ways to ensure home safety include obedience training for pets, allowing others to hold the leash when taking a dog on a walk, moving animal toys to the edges of a room and making sure that pets don't relax in places where a person can either sit or stand.
A study from Purdue University found that everyday interactions with a dog or a cat "can reduce blood pressure and alter survival after a heart attack," in addition to providing an emotional benefit.