Best Companion Dogs for the Elderly

March 16, 2017

Best Companion Dogs for the Elderly

There is no shortage of research regarding the benefits of having a canine companion in your senior years. In many situations, living in an independent or assisted living community will not prevent you from keeping your furry family member or adopting one. There are some considerations to think about when you’re a senior that’s planning on keeping or adopting a pet. This article will focus on some of the things that should be factored into your decision, as well as a few of the benefits and the top ten breeds perfect for any senior living community.

Benefits of having a companion dog:

  1. Keep you physically active
  2. Provide companionship
  3. Lower Stress
  4. Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  5. Lowered risk of depression

What are the limitations on breeds and lifestyles you should consider?

Keep in mind:

  • Some dogs are not suited to apartment life and need a lot of exercise.
  • Large dogs may jump, and cause injury.
  • If the dog becomes ill, will you be able to get him/her to the vet?
  • Are you financially able to support a breed with health problems, or who needs constant grooming?
  • If it is a heavy shedder, can you keep up with the housework required?

The answers will vary from person to person, depending on your age, activity level, and overall health. To help you narrow down your choices, here is a list of 10 dogs who have a reputation for being great pets for those in their Golden Years.

  1. Poodle

There are many advantages of having a poodle. First, they come in a range of sizes and are very adaptable which makes it easy to find one that fits your living situation. Additionally, they are very smart and easy to train. They are active, so you will need to be able to take them on walks. They need regular grooming, but if allergies are a concern this breed is hyper-allergenic.

  1. Maltese

If you don’t want to worry about shedding, a Maltese is your best bet. The Maltese sheds very little but will need an occasional trim. The Maltese were bred to be lap dogs, so if you want a dog that will stay close, this breed is an excellent choice. A Maltese will bond very quickly with its owner and are tuned into their moods and needs. Also, because they are very small, they are easy for an older owner to carry them around or handle them on a leash.

  1. Schnauzer

Because Schnauzers come in a range of sizes from giant to miniature, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that will fit any weight parameters you may be faced with. Schnauzers need to be active, which will help you to get up and move as well. They are very good with children, easily trained, and love to play, and have great protective instincts.

  1. Shih Tzu

This tiny and adorable dog is perfect if you are looking for a dog who loves to snuggle but also enjoys playing. While they are known for being “yippy,” this breed was intended to be a companion dog and are well suited for any senior living. Their coat will need grooming, and are healthy and live long lives. They will benefit from regular playtimes and walks.

  1. Yorkshire Terrier

For its small size, the Yorkshire Terrier is known to be a bit on the bossy side. This tiny and intelligent breed is another that is ideal for life in an apartment and loves to play and interact with its owner, to whom it will be very loyal. A daily walk works as sufficient exercise. They will need to be groomed rather often, due to a long coat.

  1. Pomeranian

An adorable fluff-ball, this small breed is very light which makes them easily manageable for an elderly owner. While they do not require a lot of exercise, they do require a lot of attention. They love to be played with and can tend to be a bit on the noisy side. Daily brushing is all that is required for coat care. Pomeranians are very friendly and thrive on pleasing their owners.

  1. Boston Terrier

If you are looking for a dog who will consider you the center of their world, look no further than a Boston Terrier. This breed would rather be with their owner than anything, especially enjoying snuggling. The playful and loving breed is small and does not require special grooming, and adore owners who like to play. They are extremely friendly and will not be a problem for guests.

  1. Cocker Spaniel

While this breed in on the bigger side of the dogs on this list at an average of 20 pounds, this popular breed is a great choice for an older owner due to their happy and loving personality. You will find the Cocker Spaniel to be very loyal to their owners but can tend to have a lot of energy. They will also require a bit more effort with grooming as well.

  1. Chihuahua

While a Chihuahua isn’t a great choice if you have children visitors unless you have time to work on proper behavior, there are many reasons a Chihuahua can be a perfect companion. If you are not able to get out and take a dog on a walk, a Chihuahua is ideal. Because they are so tiny, you can properly exercise your pet just by playing with it indoors. Their tiny frame is packed with loads of personality and they love attention.

  1. Beagle

Beagles can be harder than other small breeds to train, due to their independent personalities, and they do shed a lot. But these are easy to overlook due to their love for their family and friendliness with all other animals and people. Besides that, there is not many breeds as cute as a Beagle.

I hope this article was helpful in your search for a furry companion during your transition into a senior living community. After all, a home isn’t a home without a pet.


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