Certain dog breeds for seniors are just the right fit. They’re smaller dogs, they typically require very little maintenance, and they’re incredibly affectionate. If you or someone you love is an older person who could use a four-legged companion, these breeds will be perfect.
How To Choose The Right Furry Companion For You
Elderly people can benefit greatly from having a companion by their side. In most cases, this companion should be small in size and laid-back. The reason is it can be hard for some seniors to be able to handle larger dogs, or pooches who want to play all the time or need walks every day.
Another thing to keep in mind is cost. If you or a loved one is on a fixed income, you’ll need to consider the expense of getting a new companion. This includes vet bills for vaccinations, food, grooming and more.1
Ideal Dog Breeds For Seniors And Retirees
If you’ve taken all factors into account, and you’re interested in adding a new companion to your family, here are a few of the best dog breeds for seniors.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This is a very affectionate, adaptable breed. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not only a beautiful dog, but also a loving companion. They are also small in size, only weighing about 18 pounds full grown. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also very easy to train.
This breed has a long, luxurious coat. As a result, dogs of this breed will need regular grooming. That means brushing and cleaning out ears every week or two.2 You’ll probably also need to take your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to a professional groomer every month or so for a bath.
Poodles are extremely smart, loyal and loving. They also come in various different sizes, so you can pick the one that will be the best fit. The miniature poodle, for example, is only 11-15 inches in length and weighs 15-17 pounds. Their coats are hypoallergenic, so they hardly shed if at all, but they do need to be groomed on a regular basis.3
Another one of the best companion dogs for older people and retirees is the Cocker Spaniel. This is a medium-sized dog that will typically weight about 20 pounds when fully grown. As a result, this playful breed might not be a good fit for those living in assisted living facilities that have size limitations when it comes to pets.4
If you don’t have to worry about that kind of thing, the Cocker Spaniel can make a great companion. While Cockers stand only about 15 inches tall, they have a lot of fur that requires regular grooming.5
With its dignified “beard” and bushy eyebrows, the Miniature Schnauzer definitely stands out when it comes to looks. This is a very smart, affectionate breed. The breed might come in a small size, but it’s fearless. And this dog isn’t typically aggressive. Miniature Schnauzers are actually very friendly and get along great with kids and other pets. They’re also playful, and they love their families.6
The Yorkshire Terrier is great for people who want affectionate lap dogs. They want nothing more than to bond with their pet parents. If you want a loyal companion who loves to be loved, you can’t make a better choice than the Yorkshire Terrier.7
Just like the Yorkie, the Boston Terrier is a great lap dog. This small size breed is playful, but most Bostons can adapt if you’re the type who likes to chill out most of the day. Just be aware that this breed tends to snore. If you like to take afternoon naps, you’ll have a willing – if a bit noisy – companion. Boston Terriers have short coats and they don’t shed much, so you won’t have to do a whole lot of brushing.8
How Can A Furry Friend Help With Emotional Well-Being?
There are a lot of ways that companion dogs can help elderly people thrive.
Keeping a routine – Having a companion pet may help give seniors more structure and purpose in their lives. Taking care of a pet can also give an older person a sense of responsibility. That can go a long way toward keeping the mind healthy.9
Helping With Pain – Elderly people may experience discomfort due to health issues. In some cases, having a companion pet can keep a person’s mind off of any discomfort they may be feeling. Looking into a dog’s eyes can actually can actually support the production of feel-good hormones.10
Staying Active – It’s important that older people stay as active as possible. Having a dog as a companion may help. Nearly 80 percent of dog parents say they’re more physically active thanks to their pet.11 Walking a dog has been shown to help reduce visits to the doctor as well as decrease body mass index, or BMI.12
A Furry Companion Can Provide Years Of Love And Laughter
No matter what age you may be, having a dog is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have. Being a pet parent means loving an animal as part of the family. This can be even more important if you’re older and don’t have anyone else at home.
Seniors should take the time to consider exactly what type of dog will make the best companion. If you have mobility issues, larger dogs, such as German Shepherds or the Golden Retriever, might be a bit too much to handle. If you’re considering a larger dog, make sure you (or someone you trust) will be able to exercise them daily. A smaller, less active breed could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Once you look at all your options and choose carefully, you’ll have a companion who you’ll cherish for years to come.