Research has repeatedly shown that pet ownership among seniors benefits them mentally, physically, and emotionally, particularly if it’s a dog. Dogs are great companions who provide physical exercise and opportunities to socialize among the elderly and the lonely.
Any senior is at liberty to choose a dog the demands of which are commensurate with his own physical limitations and needs. Dogs have a poignant therapeutic value and their company enhances the flow of feel-good hormones in the human body and brain. This lowers stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and reduces the risk of cardiac disease, depression, and stroke.
How to choose a dog for a senior
When choosing a dog for an elderly person, you need to see its breed first. For older people, a very big or energetic dog may not be appropriate. Their grooming requirements, trainability levels, health issues, age, temperament towards old people, the owner’s own present physical condition and limitations and, more importantly, his personal financial resources to take care of the dog need to be considered very carefully before making a selection.
The best breeds for the elderly
The following 10 breeds have been the most recommended for the elderly.
- The Pug heads the list as a most charming, adaptable, playfulm, and affectionate dog for elders. They don’t need much exercise, they’re small and fit into limited spaces easily.
- The Schnauzer comes second as an energetic, trainable, and playful dog with acute guarding instincts.
- Third on the list are Cocker Spaniels, known for their medium-size, even temperament and affectionate, happy and loyal nature. They are energetic and need to be groomed regularly.
- The pocket dog or the Chihuahua is one of the smallest dogs available and are known to be protective and loyal. They, however, need training before being exposed to children and also tend to bark quite a bit. They are active but get enough exercise by running around indoors.
- Number five on the list is the Boston terrier, which is of a manageable size, is friendly, and needs minimal grooming and love being in the company of their owners. They are usually bred to be companions and love curling up with their owners on sofas and beds. They are playful and happy-go-lucky, yet attentive to the needs of their owners.
- The Shih Tzu tends to be a bit noisy but are also playful, friendly and alert dogs. Small in size, they are ideal for apartments. With a bit of regular exercise, they remain healthy and are generally long-lived. Their long-haired, luxurious coat, however, needs regular devoted grooming.
- As an elderly person, if you want a pet dog, why not flip the switch for a Beagle. These cute, loyal, funny, and friendly dogs enjoy human company as also the company of other dogs. They love playing and make sparkling family dogs. They may also be of an independent nature, which makes training them a challenge. They also need a fair amount of exercise. Shedding, however, is a problem but grooming them is easy with some regular brushing.
- 9, and 10. Last but not least, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pommeranians make marvelous companions for the elderly because of their convenient sizes, friendly temperament, and ease of maintenance.