Looking for the best dogs for seniors? With all of the changes going through a retiree’s life, a dog can offer several benefits to improve wellbeing. Here are some of those benefits and a list of dog breeds ideal for seniors.
In this article:
Dogs for Seniors: 5 Benefits of Owning a Dog + Breeds to Consider
Health Benefits of Having a Dog
1. Better Pain Management
Pet-owning retirees find themselves managing their pain better than their non-pet owning counterparts. A study from 2012 shows that having therapy dogs around in a pain management facility produces a significant pain relief compared to sitting in the waiting room.
In addition, 43% of seniors living alone and 46% who consider themselves in poor or fair health find that having pets around takes the edge off their pain.
Dogs make great companions for retirees. With more than 30% of the elderly reporting loneliness, having a pet around can help reduce feelings of isolation.
Dogs allow seniors to enjoy their golden years and maintain the feeling of love they especially need during retirement.
3. Stress Relief
Having a structured day becomes more important after you retire. Keeping a consistent, predictable routine can keep your stress levels at bay and improve any depression symptoms.
4. Social Connections
The older you get, the harder it gets to meet new people and make new friends. Yet, having a strong support system is vital as you age.
Bringing your dog outside with you can be a great ice breaker and the start of new social connections. Just ask any dog owner about their pet and watch them open up in front of you.
5. Physical Activity
Those regular dog walks get your blood pumping and help you hit the recommended 2.5 hours/week of moderate exercise. Regular exercise has many physical benefits, but for retirees, the biggest ones include:
- Stronger and more mobile joints
- Decreased heart disease rates
- Less frequent visits to the doctor
What Are the Best Dogs for Seniors?
Picking a furry companion as a senior is different from choosing one during your younger years. Regardless of which breed you choose, try to get an adult dog as puppies are extremely high maintenance
You’ll also only get an idea of what their temperament is like when they get older. These are some of the best dogs for seniors that can be an excellent match for someone kicking their shoes off and enjoying retirement.
You may be surprised that a racing dog ended up on the list. Yes, greyhounds require frequent exercise and lots of opportunities to stretch their long legs, but most of the time, they just love to lounge around with their human.
This fluffy dog breed loves receiving affection from their human companions. Weighing at around 7-12 pounds, they’re easy to carry around and bring anywhere.
Bichons are also responsive to training and apart from a regular trip to a professional groomer, they have simple needs.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Corgis are an intelligent breed that’s easy to train on basic commands. While a bit larger at 24-30 pounds, they’re still small enough for most seniors to handle.
They do require regular exercise like many other herding dog breeds, but it’s nothing a daily walk can’t handle.
More active seniors find a great friend in a Schipperke. These bundles of energy never seem to get tired and require lots of long walks.
Schipperkes are perfect dogs for seniors who need some motivation to get up and get moving.
French Bulldogs, or Frenchies as many call them, are sturdy, low-maintenance dogs that only require a moderate amount of walking. Their minimal needs make them perfect for seniors who just want a companion to spend time with.
Frenchies are considered brachycephalic breeds, so make sure to adjust your home and environment to make breathing easier for them.
What are brachycephalic dog breeds? These are dogs with squashed faces, narrow nostrils, and a smaller windpipe like pugs, French bulldogs, and English bulldogs. These characteristics make them predisposed to issues like rapid breathing, snoring, and frequent panting.
Poms are another one of the perfect dogs for seniors. Weighing as little as 3 to 7 pounds, you can carry them wherever you go in a little doggy bag.
Because they’re so small, they’re perfect for seniors living in apartments. Just make sure to soundproof if you can because their bark sounds bigger than they really are.
Poodles come in all shapes and sizes. No matter how big they are, though, they’re all loyal companions you can rely on.
Make sure to budget for regular grooming sessions in case you get one as their coat can grow very fast.
Seniors who get regular visits from grandchildren should consider getting breeds who get along with children well. The Shih Tzu is one such dog breed.
Shih Tzus suit an equally energetic human as they require daily walks to burn all the energy these dogs have. They also tend to be more stubborn than the average dog so be mindful of that when you’re training one.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This elegant dog breed is one of the most gentle and affectionate breeds around. They especially love having a nice snuggle with their human companions.
Pugs are a very popular breed across generations for many reasons:
- A very relaxed temperament
- Minimal diet restrictions
- Small size and easy handling
Like many brachycephalic breeds, pugs tend to get breathing problems in their lifetime so make sure to make some adjustments to your home accordingly and get them some regular exercise.
The terrier family has many options to choose from, but for family-oriented seniors, the Scottish Terrier is the best choice. They make great dogs for seniors who live with other family members and don’t shed a lot, making them very low-maintenance.
Whatever dog you choose, the most important part is to take care of them. Make sure you feed your dogs well, get them regular exercise, and most importantly, don’t skimp on love and affection.
Do you have a dog? What breed are they, and how is it like owning one? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
- “5 Ways To Optimize Wellness After Retirement”, With Kelly Donahue And Beau Henderson
- “Create New Rhythms To Optimize Your Wellness After Retirement”, With Tamar Chansky & Beau Henderson
- Trump’s Trade Policies Impact On International Investing