10 Best Dogs for Seniors
Owning a companion animal such as a dog can make a huge difference in one’s quality of life. They are especially suitable for the elderly and those who live on their own or away from family.
Dogs are excellent companion animals and help alleviate some symptoms of senior social isolation. Not only that, but they are a good incentive to stay active with daily walks and other activities.
The best dogs for seniors are generally smaller, with few health problems, and relatively low energy levels. Ultimately, though, the best dog is one that you will love and care for to the best of your ability.
Before Getting a Dog…
When it comes to figuring out what are the best dogs for seniors, it’s essential to step back and consider a few things beforehand. Doing so will ensure that you give your four-legged friend the best possible life.
Those who are less active or mobile may find that some breeds are too energetic for their lifestyle. Finding a dog with the right energy level to match yours will make caring for your dog much more relaxed.
Some low-energy dogs only need a short walk to satisfy their need for exercise. Others are bursting with stamina and require several hours of intense playtime and walking. Regardless of the amount of activity your dog needs, walking your pup is a great way to stay in shape.
For seniors who have arthritis or other joint problems, finding arthritic-friendly leashes will alleviate some discomfort that comes from holding onto a strap.
The size of your pet may be the deciding factor when picking a dog. Do you live in an apartment or a house with a yard? If you live in an apartment, a large dog may not enjoy the limited space to explore, and both of you may end up feeling cramped.
Smaller breeds are some of the best dogs for seniors because they are less likely to cause falls by jumping up on people or pulling on the leash during outings. Additionally, their small size makes them lighter, easier to transport, and generally have fewer medical expenses than larger pooches.
Full-grown or Puppy
Adopting a puppy is incredibly tempting–who can resist those adorable eyes and cute little whimpers? However, seniors should also remember that puppies need much more care and attention than adult dogs. Housetraining, higher energy levels, and other things might cause stress for seniors who don’t have the time or ability to train them.
Community or Apartment Rules
Some residential or retirement communities may only allow specific types of dogs. It is important to check any rules about dog ownership before adopting a new dog. Some places may not allow large dogs or breeds like Pitbulls and Rottweilers.
The last major thing to consider is the health of certain breeds. Some types, like pugs and other flat-faced dogs, are brachycephalic and might be more high maintenance than you can afford. It’s important to think about the health of the breed in case you find yourself paying more for vet bills than you can provide.
Best Dogs for Seniors
After reading the different things to consider before getting a dog, here are some of the best dogs for seniors.
Yes, large dogs can be excellent companion animals for seniors, and the ever-faithful golden retriever proves it.
Similar to labrador retrievers (another ideal breed for seniors who want a large dog), goldens are gregarious people-pleasers.
They are easy to train, and while they do have some health problems, they are relatively low maintenance. Golden retrievers love to exercise, so it’s important to make sure they have a chance to burn off any extra energy they have.
Doing so will also help them calm down while they are inside. Take your golden for a long walk, throw a ball around, or let her swim in a local pond.
Golden retrievers won’t mind when strangers approach them and will welcome the attention with their signature smile.
Poodles are one of the best dogs for seniors because of their above-average intelligence, which makes them very easy to train.
They can become attached to multiple people, making them an excellent choice for couples. Poodles have a gentle nature and are very laid back.
They are perfectly happy to lay on the couch, but they still need a daily walk. Poodles don’t shed and only need groomed once a month.
Another plus is that poodles come in three size options so you can find the best one for your living situation.
Their comically adorable faces will bring a smile to your face every time you look at them. Pugs have a childlike disposition, affectionate, and intensely loyal.
Seniors who are not very active or mobile will appreciate pugs’ low energy levels. They don’t need much exercise and, usually, become very uncomfortable in high heat.
However, pugs are prone to obesity and should be taken on a short walk at least once a day before the weather gets too hot.
As they are brachycephalic, it is important not to overexert them or let them become overweight. Additionally, pugs’ cute folds need a quick wipe every day to prevent bacteria from building inside them.
This breed is up for anything, whether it’s a lazy day at home or spending time outside. Lhasa apsos have one of the mildest temperaments of any small dog breed.
They are also more independent than many others, which makes them well-suited for apartment living.
While their personality may be low-maintenance, they do require a large amount of grooming.
Shih Tzu’s tiny size makes them an ideal candidate for any best dogs for seniors list. However, they are a little on the stubborn side and may take some extra work to train.
Also, they have a few minor health problems regarding their skin and brachycephaly. It’s crucial to walk Shih Tzus every day and regularly groom them.
West Highland Terrier
Commonly known as “Westies,” these dogs are affectionate, friendly, loyal, and low-maintenance.
They are small but sturdy and has minimal grooming needs.
Westies will need taken outside for walks but don’t have the same level of energy as other terriers.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The chosen pet of the Queen of England, corgis’ prominent personalities will delight and entertain, making them some of the best companion pets for elders.
They do well in apartments or larger homes. Their double coat will cause them to shed a lot, but daily brushing should help with some of that.
Although they can be stubborn, corgis are easy to train and get along well with others. They are an active breed and are best for seniors who can handle lots of time exercising outdoors with them.
These dogs are soft, cuddly, and make the perfect lap dog. They are happiest when they are around people and obedient people-pleasers.
Since they are so intelligent, they are easy to train.
Bichon Frises’ small size is great for apartment living, although they do need walking every day.
They also require regular grooming and bathing to stay happy and healthy.
These dogs are perfect for seniors living in apartments because they are quiet, easygoing, and do well with other people and pets.
Frenchies shed an average amount and don’t require a large amount of grooming.
While they do need a daily walk, like pugs, French bulldogs can overheat and don’t do well in warm weather.
Surprisingly, Italian greyhounds are one of the best dogs for seniors because their
sensitive and playful nature makes them loving companions.
Plus, they are small enough to curl up in your lap and have some of the lowest grooming needs of any breed.
Adopting an older Italian grayhound may work best for seniors as younger ones will still require multiple walks a day.
Older “Iggies” still need daily exercise. But provided they are given time to sprint around an enclosed yard or field, they will be ready to relax on the couch at the end of the day.
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