A dog is a great companion to have at any age. You see the most adorable pictures of even the youngest children playing with their cute dogs. A dog is a buddy for life, one you have as you grow up, and a friend even as you grow old. If you’re thinking of getting one for your older loved one, then read on.
Seniors actually have the most use for a dog. As parents they have been taking care of children for the past years of their lives, and having the house to themselves will bring much deserved, albeit lonely silence. Having a loving pet will help decrease feelings of loneliness and offer entertainment to the owners. Having a dog also leads to more exercise, since a dog’s lively personality will also encourage movement.
However, choosing one would involve a few factors. It’s important to consider where the potential owner is living, his state of health and physical strength, as well as his lifestyle. You want him to have fun with his dog, not add stress by giving him a dog whose care can overwhelm him.
Lap dogs are the most recommended for seniors, since they need less exercise and will adapt quickly to small living spaces. Some also advise getting adult dogs, which ensure that owners have an idea of the dog’s health history and temperament. It also saves them the money, time, and energy that would be put in raising a puppy.
- Shih Tzu
Small with long silky hair, these dogs are affectionate, yet willing to bark at strangers (so they can be watchdogs too!). They don’t shed much and need grooming every 6 to 8 weeks. They’re very playful, but have minimal exercise needs.
These playful clowns are affectionate and outgoing, with low energy and exercise requirements, making them a wise choice for seniors.
Another feisty and playful dog, the Maltese is also a quiet lapdog and content to sit around when you can’t walk him. Maltese like to bark, so they make for excellent watchdogs.
- Yorkshire Terrier
This lively dog is active and vocal, and requires regular grooming. They have a big bark, but they are affectionate to owners, and are happy lapdogs that are fine whether you’re the type to stay inside the house or one who likes to go have outdoor walks.
- Lhasa Apso
Usually the most recommended for seniors, this dog is independent and will be happy just to curl up inside the house with his owner. Though the Apso loves to walk and play, he will be just as contented to sit on your lap or lie on your feet. They make great watchdogs because they tend to bark a lot.
A dog is someone to take care of, to talk with, to play with, and most importantly, someone we can be responsible for. Some seniors might need exactly that in order to feel loved and wanted. Studies show that these companion animals can lower stress, blood pressure, as well as depression.
In picking a dog, you may also want to check out shelters and rescue groups. PAWS has an adoption program specifically for older people, Seniors for Seniors, which places cats and dogs who are seven years or older with individuals sixty years or older. Seniors can find about dogs that are ready for adoption by calling nearby animal shelters using a mobile phone specially designed for the elderly. Seniors can choose one from the several free cell phones for seniors listed here so they can easily make calls and increase the chance of finding the perfect dog to be their next best friend.