Many seniors want and/or need the companionship of a dog. Everyone should have the opportunity to have a dog. As you age, there are a few factors to consider. Your health and lifestyle can affect your ability to properly care for a dog. It is important to do your research. Finding a breed of dog that fits your lifestyle and your ability to care for a dog is key.
Health Benefits Of A Dog For Seniors
Owning a dog has many health and emotional benefits. Having a dog as a companion has been known to benefit the health of seniors in the following ways:
- Lowers blood pressure – Seniors who own pets tend to have lower blood pressure, which helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Just petting a dog can lower your blood pressure.
- Reduces loneliness and depression – The loyalty and companionship of a dog can help a senior from loneliness and depression. Losing a partner for a senior can be emotionally devastating. A dog can help ease the pain.
- Increases activity and independence – A pet can keep a senior active because of the daily tasks that have to be done in the caring of a dog. Also, daily walks will give the senior and the dog their daily exercise.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Dog
Seniors should consider some of the following factors when choosing a dog:
- Energy Level – A dog with a lower energy level would be ideal for a senior with a less active lifestyle. Dogs with lower energy levels require shorter walks and less play time. Cuddling with you or just laying at your feet would bring both the senior and the dog contentment.
- Size – A smaller dog is easier to manage. Its easier to take the dog with you when you travel. You don’t have to worry about them pulling or knocking you down.
- Puppy or Adult – An older dog that is already trained is a good choice for a senior. A puppy has a ton of energy and needs to be trained. I’m sure spending time enjoying a dog would be preferable to a senior.
- Consider the health problems of the breed you choose. Veterinarian visits can be expensive.
List Of Dogs For Seniors
Below is a list of dogs recommended for seniors:
- Maltese – The Maltese is a very intelligent and affectionate breed. The average weight is 4 to 7 pounds. The life expectancy of the Maltese is 15 to 18 years. They make a good companion to cuddle with.
- Pug – Pug is a gentle and affectionate breed. Pugs usually weigh between 14 and 18 pounds and live 13 to 15 years. Also, they are moderately active and love to go for walks.
- Beagle – Beagles are sweet, gentle and energetic. The average weight is 24 pounds and have a live expectancy of 14 years. Beagles have moderate to high energy, needs multiple walks. They are very social and need a lot of attention.
- Chihuahua – Chihuahua is very small and easy to carry. The average weight is 3 to 6 pounds and live to around 18 years. This dog can be cuddly and affectionate and does not need a lot of exercise.
- Boston Terrier – Boston Terrier weighs 10 to 25 pounds and has a life expectancy of 12 years. Boston Terriers are smart, [playful, very affectionate and friendly. They make excellent companions.
- Otterhound – The Otterhound is a larger breed with a maximum weight of 50 pounds. They have a life expectancy of 12 years. They are friendly, affectionate and moderately active.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are an elegant breed with a long, silky coat. They weigh 13 to 15 pounds and have a life expectancy of 9 to 14 years. They are very affectionate, playful and social.
- Poodle – Poodles are energetic, loyal and intelligent dogs. Poodles come in a variety of sizes. Toy poodles weigh from 6 to 9 pounds, Miniatures poodles weight from 15 to 17 pounds and standard poodles weigh 45 to 70 pounds. The life expectancy of the Toy and Miniature is up to 15 years and the Standard has a life expectancy of 12 years. Poodles are active dogs. They enjoy a variety of activities such as, long walks and swimming.
- CockerSpaniel – Cocker Spaniels are med-size dogs weighing 20 to 30 pounds. They love being around people and are good with kids. They are very affectionate dogs but need to be exercised daily. A couple of walks a day for 30 minutes is sufficient.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi – The Corgi is a loyal companion with a loving disposition. This breed is very intelligent and loves to be around people. They are great with kids and easy to train. They weigh 30 pounds and require exercise every day.
- Scottish Terrier – The Scotties are great companions for seniors because of their adaptable temperament and small size. They weigh 18 to 22 pounds. Scotties are great for apartments and great with children.
- The Italian greyhound is also a great companion for seniors. They weigh 11 pounds. They love to be around people and have a lot of energy. This breeds need exercise and should be walked 1 to 2 times a day.
Do Your Research
Before you get a dog for a senior, do your research. There are many breeds that would make great companions for seniors but you must consider all the factors.
You want a dog that fits into your lifestyle, is easy to care for, easily trained, doesn’t need too much exercise and that is not too expensive to care for properly.
A dog will enrich a senior’s life. You want to make the right choice.