If you are an older adult who loves dogs, you should not let your advanced years become a determining factor in your dog ownership. There are many dogs for seniors out there that will fit your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in an adult care facility, you need to find out if you will be allowed to have a dog on the premises.
Your health condition will, of course, affect your ability to care for your canine companion properly. The most important thing is to find the right dog breed that suits your lifestyle, needs, and skills. As a part of responsible pet ownership, you must make sure that you can meet the needs of your dog, whether it is food, exercise, grooming, or health care.
Why Own a Dog?
Having your own man’s best friend right next to you has a lot of physical and emotional health benefits. Owning a dog can reduce your stress levels and even lower your blood pressure. It is even known to extend life. Studies also indicate that having a fur baby will prevent anxiety and depression. It is excellent for your mental health to have a pooch by your side. On top of that, you will be encouraged to move and remain active when you own a dog.
If you are on the lookout for a dog to keep you company in your adult community, you must consider breeds that will adapt to your lifestyle. These canines are pretty energetic, so you must find a dog that you can cope with now that you’re in your golden years.
Certain dog breeds are more ideal for your relaxed lifestyle. After all, when you are in the twilight of your years, the chances of you participating in a marathon is dismal. Go for a breed with a moderate energy level or a smaller pup with not much energy to expend.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog
Though it feels great to have a dog, you must determine if dog ownership is the right choice for you. Assess your life and capabilities before welcoming a bundle of fur in your home. Consider the following factors before you buy:
Are you ready for the lifetime responsibility?
Owning a dog is a serious commitment that lasts, so you need to determine if you can be a responsible dog owner. You need to feed, bathe, and train your dog. When your dog misbehaves, you will be the one to suffer the blame.
Do you have the funds to afford it?
Since you are retired, you must check if your pension or other income streams will allow you to splurge on a dog. Dogs are expensive with special food, vet bills, vaccines, grooming, and more. You can expect to pay thousands annually. Assess your budget to check if you can include pet care.
Will a dog fit your lifestyle?
If you live in an assisted living facility, you may not be allowed to own a dog. You need to double-check if your rental community will allow pets. Your landlord may not allow it. Other things to ponder on are: Are you still active enough to take the dog on a walk twice a day? Can you even bend down to scoop poop? Consider if you can make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate a furry pet. It will take a lot of time and energy to care for pets.
Do you have physical limitations?
Your age and other health issues can make it difficult for you to care for a dog, especially one that is an energetic breed. If you have allergies, owning a dog may not be wise because of your reaction to the animal dander. It is unfair to own a dog, only to give it away after you realize it no longer fits your life. As a side note, if you have disabilities, you may need a special dog for the disabled that has been trained to assist you.
What breed should you get?
Breed plays a crucial role for seniors who want to own their pets. It would be best to steer clear of a high-energy dog breed that needs constant roughhousing. Go for a calmer breed that likes to laze around the house. If you cannot lift heavy stuff due to arthritis, go with smaller breeds, too. You may also need to consider the lifespan of the dog breed, and if you can keep up with it as both you and your pet age. You must assess if you can take care of your chosen dog breed within the next decade.
Top Ten Breeds for Senior Enjoyment
With a broad range of dogs out there, purebred or crossbreed combinations, you may feel overwhelmed. To help you out, consider these top ten dog breeds that are perfect for advanced ages. These ragamuffins have moderate energy or are smaller in size to accommodate your sensitive needs.
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
Physical Traits: With loads of fluffy and curly white hair; sometimes the hair has traces of cream, buff or apricot; it resembles a cotton ball or powder puff.
Fill your life with cuteness by going for a fluffy, small Bichon Frise. This is a jolly dog with a happy disposition that will boost your mood. You will love this affectionate dog that will tug at your heartstrings. It is a great companion for older adults with its lightweight. Because it is tiny in size, this makes it easy to handle. You can carry this pet with ease and bathe it without any problems.
Moreover, a Bichon Frise is straightforward to train. It may need periodic grooming, but it is a low-maintenance dog that won’t need a lot of your attention. You can opt to take your fur baby to the groomer once a month or once every two months. These creatures need moderate daily exercise, so you and your fur baby will be happy and healthy with short strolls around the block.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Height:12 to 13 inches
Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
Physical Traits: These have a silky, wavy, and medium-length coat; adults Cavaliers have feathering on their ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail.
This spritely dog is always happy, especially if it has your companionship. This Cavalier is a puppy-like spaniel that is highly affectionate so that it will love your hugs and kisses. This breed is also adaptable, making it easy to handle and train.
It is also light, so you can carry this dog without hurting your back and joints. If you choose a Cavalier, prepare to do some grooming. Cavaliers need regular hair brushing and ear cleaning. It also requires an occasional trip to your groomers. These small creatures are the perfect snuggle companion.
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 19 to 28 pounds
Physical Traits: sturdy, compact and muscular; has a large head with a short snout and bat-like long ears.
Keep this super cute Frenchie in the running as your senior companion. French bulldogs are known to be the happiest dogs in the world. They are compact and muscular, so they need a moderate activity to help expel their energy. You’ll be delighted to know that they don’t have the endurance. You may take your fur baby out for short walks because their lazy ass can’t do long ones.
The only caveat of this pudgy Frenchie is its size. At almost thirty pounds, it is a tad heavier than most small breeds. However, this size is still quite manageable because they are soft-tempered creatures that enjoy lazing around. As for their grooming needs, it is minimal. But do note that they usually have health issues like brachycephalic syndrome and other skin ailments.
Height: 25 to 30 inches
Weight: 60 to 80 pounds
Physical Traits: narrow bodies with long legs; its muzzle tapers to a certain point at its nose.
You may be wondering why we recommend a racing dog for older adults, but you will be amazed to know that greyhounds are not high-energy creatures. They only enjoy short daily walks and the occasional run. The exact nature of this beast is that it’s a glorified couch potato.
They are easy to handle because they respond well to training cues. If you like more substantial dogs, but don’t want the usual exuberance, the greyhound is the perfect companion.
Height: 8 to 10 inches
Weight: 4 to 7 pounds
Physical Traits: Dark windows to the soul that stay alert; super white fur with long and silky coat; comes with no undercoat.
Akin to a Bichon, the Maltese is your quintessential tiny, cute, white lap dog. This breed enjoys spending a lot of time lazing on its owner’s lap. An occasional trip to the groomers is needed to keep this breed healthy and clean.
Malteses are an excellent dog choice for older adults because they are easy to train and handle. This is even tinier than a Bichon, so seniors can literally carry this fur baby in their bag wherever they go.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Height: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 24 to 30 pounds
Physical Traits: sturdy build, low set-body; short stature but with large, erect pointy ears, and a stubby tail.
This small to medium-sized fur baby is a great companion. It may not be as tiny as a Maltese, but the Corgi is still little enough to handle easily. Seniors will love this breed because they are smart. Training a Corgi is a breeze.
This is a herding dog, so your Corgi will need routine exercise. But worry not because short daily walks are sufficient enough for this pet. The babies do not require much grooming, making it a convenient choice.
Height: 6 to 7 inches
Weight: 3 to 7 pounds
Physical Traits: a long-haired, double-coat miniature Spitz; has perfect pointy ears and curled tail.
If you want a tiny dog, then this guy is the right one for you. The Pom is ideal for aging individuals since they can easily carry it. The breed is also a happy camper. Its sunny disposition will be perfect for perking up your days.
This dog is also affectionate, and one of the things it enjoys doing is sleeping in your lap. An indoor dog, this one doesn’t need much exercise, and it is happy enough to play with toys.
Height: Regular: 15 inches; Mini: 10 to 15 inches; Toy: 10 inches and under
Weight: Regular: 45 to 70 pounds; Mini: 15 to 18 pounds; Toy: 5 to 9 pounds
Physical Traits: Curly, dense single-layer fur that may be one of many solid colors.
Touted to be one of the smartest among all dog breeds, seniors will love Poodles because they are highly trainable and responsive. They adapt fast to any household. You can opt for a tiny toy or a miniature version. Either way, both will be easy to take care of and enjoy.
These canine companions are loyal, loving, and affectionate. You will enjoy giving this pet lots of hugs and cuddles. They do, however, need to go to the groomers once a month. Other than that, they are easy to maintain.
Height: 8 to 11 inches
Weight:9 to 16 pounds
Physical Traits: Has a smooshed facial look; small but sturdy; has long, lush double hair coat.
This is a little dog that’s popular with many families. They do have a bit of a stubborn streak, but most can be housebroken without issues. Daily walks and regular grooming are essential for this breed.
Note that this breed is quite prone to skin issues and brachycephalic syndrome.
West Highland White Terrier
Height:10 to 11 inches
Weight: 13 to 20 pounds
Physical Traits: A well-balanced dog that is not too dainty or too muscular; utterly white with a long rough coat.
Popularly known as Westies, this breed is easy to handle and train. It is not as fragile as the other small breeds, too. They make excellent companions because they are affectionate.
The best part, these friendly creatures are low maintenance. It doesn’t need as much trimming as the other dogs on this list. Occasional grooming is already fabulous!
Final Word on Your Pooch
There are many benefits to pet ownership, especially for seniors. If you are a senior or you have an elderly loved one who is on the lookout for the perfect canine, you must do your due diligence and research which dog breed is perfect.
You may also check with your trusted senior facility if they allow you to bring a dog onto the premises. They have clinically proven that dogs improve heart health and boost the mind. When you are feeling down, you can count on man’s best friend to come to your rescue.