Did you know that over half of all people with pets refer to themselves as pet parents instead of pet owners? There’s no denying the deep bonds people feel with their furry family members. Perhaps that’s why people choose to own pets at any age — from elementary school into our retirement years. Use these tips to help seniors find the perfect dog.
Choose the right dog
When choosing a dog, it’s essential to consider what breed and age will work best for you. Think about energy level, physical condition, environment when selecting the right pet, but understand that many shelter dogs will be a mixed breed.
You can always check with the shelter to see if there is a guess about the dog’s makeup and use that info along with your knowledge of different breeds to make the right decision.
Also, when it comes to specific types of dogs, each breed is so vastly different that it’s essential to do a bit of research. Most seniors prefer smaller, less hyper breeds with an energy level that is more suited to their own.
Celebrities like Martha Stewart have popularized breeds such as the French bulldog (“Frenchies” for short). Poodles have long been popular due to their high intelligence and quick ability to learn commands.
The so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breeds are popular with seniors. In addition to reducing allergic reactions, these dogs are known for lack of shedding, making them less maintenance than other breeds.
Of course, you can always go the old-fashioned route and head to your nearest animal shelter to find a fur baby in need of a forever home.
Weigh your abilities
Another consideration when getting a dog is the dog’s age and training level needs. Puppies and young dogs have higher energy levels and require more time and care.
Are you able to devote time to housebreaking, or do you want a dog that has already been trained?
While some seniors do well with more demanding dogs, most still prefer to have a dog that is better suited to their unique personality.
Meet your dog’s needs
If you’re a senior who’s been longing for companionship but uncertain whether you can currently commit to walking a dog, don’t despair. Dog ownership doesn’t have to be a lost cause for you.
Since professional dog walkers and dog walking services are now widely available in most cities, there are plenty of options.
Many of these services even allow you to find someone to care for your beloved pet when you go out of town. House sitting, doggy daycare, dog walking, dog boarding, and drop-in visits are just a few of the options available.
Make plans for your dog’s care
One of the most important things to consider when owning a pet as a senior is how your pet will be cared for if something happens to you.
Make arrangements with friends or family members who can care for your dog if you become too ill to care for them or must move into a facility that doesn’t allow pets.
By having a plan for your beloved animal, you can ensure that it still has a loving home even if it’s not always yours.
Gather any necessary paperwork for your pet and keep it with your files that contain other information family members may need if you die or become incapacitated.
And if you’re a senior considering living in a residential care facility, remember some do allow pets. Compare your options before deciding whether you’ll need to rehome your companion animal.
Seniors adopt dogs
It’s becoming easier than ever to care for pets. Making a phone call or reading online blogs and forums can answer most questions and concerns seniors have about caring for their dogs.
We live in a time where there no longer needs to be an age limit on pet ownership. It’s possible to be an excellent dog owner well into your senior years.
Jessica Brody is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.pet. She created the site to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals. Jessica believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.