We all know the saying ‘dogs are for life’. It usually means that people should only consider purchasing a dog if they are ready to take on the lifelong commitment of caring for it.
But ‘dogs are for life’ also means that dogs are wonderful companions at any stage of life.
Owning a dog helps improve the physical and mental health of people of all ages, including seniors. Studies have shown that seniors who care for a dog take better care of themselves and can benefit from lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Dog ownership encourages seniors to lead a more active life. Getting out for daily walks is great exercise, a great way to stay connected with your community and a great way to meet other people.
A dog’s loyalty, unquestioning love, and companionship can do amazing things to improve the mental health of older people. And seniors also make great parents for dogs. They are home for much of the day and can dedicate lots of time and care to their furry friend.
So, the good news is that getting older does not mean people have to give up the joys of dog ownership. The great news is that owning a dog has the potential to actually improve the length and quality of life of their senior owners.
But seniors might need to think carefully about which sort of breed might be best.
As you grow older, you may not feel capable of keeping up with the high levels of exercise required to keep a retriever from getting bored and destructive. Luckily, there are several dog breeds that are good for seniors.
And if you are helping a senior choose a dog or finding a dog for them, you have come to the right place.
On this page, we have brought together a list of breeds that could make a fantastic companion for senior owners. These dogs are generally smaller, well-behaved, and easy to pick up and transport, dogs like the Pug, Boston terrier and Miniature Schnauzer.
Once you have narrowed down the choice to one or two breeds, here are a few other things to consider when looking for the perfect new friend for a senior:
- their housing situation (e.g. will the dog be living with other animals; do children regularly visit; do they live somewhere that restricts the size of dog they can own?)
- activity levels of both the owner and the dog
- how much grooming is required?
- the maturity of the dog. Puppies are adorable but may not be a great choice for seniors with their sharp teeth, need to play and training requirements (including house training). It might be better to consider adopting a calm, trained older dog from a shelter or rescue group.
Now that you know that senior dog ownership is the ultimate win-win scenario, you can look through our list of great breeds and start planning to make someone’s life happier and healthier.