If you have lived your whole life with dogs, you might consider getting a dog as a senior. However, certain breeds are better for seniors.
A senior that wants to adopt a dog should look for one that is fairly low maintenance and is calm. Adult dogs are usually a great option for seniors as well. The dog should be loving and affectionate, but not too energetic or require hours of daily exercise.
In this article, we will go over the personality traits that make dogs great to live with seniors. We will tell you about certain breeds that have these personality traits. We will also give you tips for how you can give your dog the exercise that they need as a senior person.
I have owned and loved dogs for my entire life. I understand that wanting a dog doesn’t go away as you age. I do understand, however, that certain types of dogs do better in homes with older people. As we age, we need to recognize that we have less mobility and can do less for our dogs. I hope that this article will help any seniors decide to adopt a dog that fits well with their lifestyle.
What Makes A Dog Good For Seniors?
Many seniors find that having a dog is beneficial to their life. Dogs provide companionship, affection, and a reason to exercise daily. There are certain dog breeds that are best for seniors, but ultimately the dog will need to have certain personality traits and other factors that match what the owner wants.
In general, the personality traits of the dog matter much more than other factors like size or breed. In the following sections, we will discuss some traits to look for in a dog if you are a senior.
An important thing to look for in a dog when you are a senior is low maintenance. This includes both exercise and grooming needs. Certain high-energy dogs require rigorous daily exercise in order to be happy and healthy. If you have limited mobility or don’t have the energy to go to the dog park every few days, then a super high-energy dog will not be best for your lifestyle.
Some dogs, especially those with long hair, require frequent grooming to keep them hygienic and healthy. This also requires mobility and dexterity if you are trying to groom your dog at home. Grooming by a professional can be a financial strain as well. In general, a low-maintenance dog that doesn’t require much grooming will be best for a senior.
Adult dogs are a great choice for seniors. This is because they are usually calmer than younger dogs. In many cases, adult dogs are already house trained, so you won’t have to spend time and energy cleaning up bathroom accidents.
When you adopt an adult dog, you know that they won’t grow any larger. When you adopt a puppy, there is a chance that they could grow to be larger than expected. As a senior, you want a dog that is small enough for you to take care of and control. An adult dog is the best choice in this situation.
Whether you decide to adopt an adult dog or a puppy, try to choose one that is calm. Many of the breeds that we will discuss later in the article are fairly calm. No matter what breed you choose, make sure you pick an individual dog that is calm.
As a senior, the last thing that you want is a large and over-excited dog to jump on you. If you adopt a dog with a calm demeanor, then you won’t have to worry about that.
Top Dog Breeds For Seniors
As a senior looking for a dog to adopt, make sure that you pay attention to the specific traits that we discussed earlier. Certain breeds are more likely to have these traits than others, but it is also possible to find an individual dog of another breed that is perfect for you. In other words, don’t base your search on breed alone. You need to make sure that you find the perfect individual dog for you.
The bichon frise is a small white-haired fluffy dog. They are known as a typical “lapdog” who loves spending time cuddling and relaxing with their owners. This dog breed is generally very friendly and lovable. They are also hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t shed very much and have minimal grooming needs.
The bichon frise requires daily exercise like any other dog, but nothing too strenuous. They will be happy with a daily walk and the ability to go outside a few times per day. These dogs are a perfect option for seniors who want a loveable and friendly dog.
The Shih Tzu is another small dog breed, technically in the toy size category. They can come in any color. Their hair is long, so they need regular brushing and grooming. Shih Tzu dogs require daily walks or time in the backyard, but nothing more intense than that.
These dogs are friendly and lovable, so they would make a great companion to their owners. They are known to be a bit stubborn but can be trained with a bit of effort.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The cavalier king charles spaniel is another toy size dog. They have medium-length hair and come in multiple colors. Their hair requires daily brushing and regular grooming. These dogs are loving and affectionate. They are generally known to be easy to train and handle due to their high intelligence.
If you adopt a cavalier king charles spaniel, remember to regularly brush your dog’s hair, especially near their ears. They are prone to matting in this area. They require daily exercise in the form of walks or time in a fenced-in backyard.
Boston terriers are a great option for seniors, especially those that live in community centers with others. This is because Boston terriers don’t bark much. These dogs also have a short coat, so they don’t require as much grooming or maintenance as the other breeds we have mentioned.
Boston terriers are loveable and devoted to their owners. They love to just sit on the couch with their owners and relax. They are intelligent and easy to train if you want to teach them basic commands. Like any dog, Boston terriers require daily exercise.
Malteses are the perfect dog for seniors. They are known as prime examples of lap dogs. Their favorite activity is relaxing on the couch with their owners. Some Maltese dogs are also used as therapy dogs due to their calm and friendly nature. They are small and loveable and are the perfect companion dog.
Malteses are white with long fur. They require daily brushing and regular grooming for their hair. They are intelligent and easy to train. Malteses are very small, so they don’t require a lot of intense exercise. They should be walked daily and let outside to use the bathroom several times per day, though.
Pomeranians are another dog breed that is small, light, and fluffy. Pomeranians can weigh as little as three pounds. Some people even carry them in their purses. Their light weight makes them great lap dogs and constant companions. Their hair is long and requires daily brushing and regular grooming.
Pomeranians are known to bark a lot, so they are best for seniors that live in their own home rather than in an assisted living facility. Pomeranians are playful and energetic. They need daily exercise with either a few walks or some time in a fenced-in yard.
If you are looking for a bigger dog, then a greyhound would be perfect for you. Many people think that greyhounds are extremely active since they were bred to be racing dogs. However, they are some of the laziest dog breeds out there! On average, greyhounds sleep for 18 hours every day!
As long as you take your greyhound to a fenced-in backyard or dog park about once a week or so, they will be lazy at most other times. They need an occasional opportunity to run around but otherwise spend their time sleeping and relaxing.
These traits make greyhounds perfect for seniors. They are also very low maintenance. Greyhounds don’t need to go to the groomer and don’t shed as much as other dog breeds. If you adopt a greyhound, you can be sure that you won’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning up after them or doing involved activities. Your greyhound will be perfectly happy napping next to you on the couch.
How To Give Your Dog Exercise As A Senior Person
No matter what dog you adopt, they will need exercise. Many senior people decide to adopt a dog because it will give them a reason to get outside and do some exercise. We have already recommended getting a dog that has lenient exercise requirements. You won’t want a dog that requires a daily run to be happy.
At a minimum, you should take your dog for a walk every day. Even if it is just around the block and you walk slowly, you should both be getting out of the house for some easy exercise. If you have a backyard, you can let your dog out there a few times per day to run around and go to the bathroom.
If you don’t have a backyard, then you will need to take your dog for more frequent walks so that they can use the bathroom. You should also take them to a dog park occasionally so that they can run and play. Inside your house, you can throw toys for your dogs and let them play inside. All of this will give your dog plenty of exercise as long as they aren’t a super high-energy dog.
Remember that as you age, your mobility might decrease and you might not be able to give your dog all of the exercise it needs. If this happens, don’t hesitate to hire a dog walking service or request help from family or friends. Taking care of your dog’s exercise needs is an important part of keeping them happy and healthy.
What To Know Before Adopting A Dog
As we age, we can get lonely and seek companionship. This leads many people towards adopting a dog, even if they are a senior person. There is nothing wrong with wanting to adopt a dog as a senior, but there are certain things that you should know before finalizing your adoption.
All Dogs Need Exercise
One important thing to know is that all dogs need exercise. Many senior people will adopt smaller dogs because they are easier to care for and require less exercise than larger dogs. You must remember, though, that all dogs need regular exercise, even small dogs.
Before you adopt a dog, you should determine if you will be able to give your new dog the exercise that it needs. Can you take your dog for two to four walks per day? Do you have a fenced-in yard that your dog can use to run around in and use the bathroom?
Many senior people will have their dogs use puppy pads in the home instead of taking them outside to use the bathroom. This can be considered abuse depending on whether the dog is taken out at all. Don’t adopt a dog unless you will be able to properly take care of it.
Most Dogs Need Regular Grooming
Many of the dog breeds that we recommended in this article have long hair that requires frequent brushing and regular grooming. Before adopting one of these dogs, you should be sure that you can keep up with frequent trips to the groomer and daily brushing.
If you adopt a dog with complex grooming needs and neglect to take them to the groomer, then your dog will be prone to matting and skin issues. These not only make your dog feel uncomfortable but can be dangerous as well.
Remember that if you don’t think you can keep up with frequent trips to the groomer or regular brushing, there are options for dogs that don’t have these needs. Both the Boston terrier and greyhound have short coats, minimal shedding, and are great companions for seniors. Consider adopting one of these dogs if you don’t want to commit to a dog with high-maintenance grooming needs.
Have A Plan For Your Dog
An unfortunate truth is that as we age, it is likely that we will end up in a hospital or extended-stay rehabilitation center for one reason or another. In these instances, you need to be sure that your dog is taken care of. For these situations, you should have a plan in place for a family member or friend to take care of your dog while you are away.
If you find yourself in this situation concerning an injury or illness, you may have limited mobility and energy when you come home. You should monitor your situation and be prepared to request help or rehome your dog if you are no longer able to give your dog the care that they need.
At the end of the day, anyone, no matter their age, should have a plan in place for their dog. If something happens to us, we need to be sure that our dogs will be taken care of.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright