Pets are valued as beloved companions that provide entertainment, company, and in some cases, protection. Outside of these common characteristics are benefits that can enhance any senior’s lifestyle and well-being. For a senior, a pet can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, ease loneliness, and get exercise. Owning a dog, for example, increases physical activity and social interactions via active dog walking and conversations with other pet owners.
Considering the many benefits that pets can offer seniors, it is worth exploring the different types of animals in order to determine the best fit. Certain dog and cat breeds make great pet companions for seniors due to their size and maintenance level.
How To Choose A Pet
Start by using the flowchart to find the type of animal that most closely matches your lifestyle. After you’ve found your match, browse through the most popular breeds by animal type below. Keep in mind that there are other factors to consider when selecting a pet such as financial capabilities or whether or not the pet is available in your local shelters.
Dog Breeds For Seniors
Dogs make the perfect pet companions for active seniors. Since dogs require regular exercise, they’re perfect for those who would like to implement more activity into their daily routines.
When shopping for a dog, be sure to select a breed that fits your lifestyle. To give you a hand, we’ve picked the top five dog breeds for seniors: Scottish Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Corgis, Pugs, and Maltese.
These breeds are known for their easy temperaments, low-maintenance qualities and petite sizes.
You’ll also want to consider the age of the pet you’ll want to adopt since younger pups will require more attention whereas the less active senior dogs may already be trained.
There are various pros and cons for younger and older dogs but the latter option is known to be less destructive, more content with sitting still, and more predictable in terms of development.
You won't have to worry about how big the dog will get, whether or not its temperament will change, or how it will react to certain people or environments.
While the following breeds have repeatedly proven to be perfect matches for seniors, it's important to note that it's entirely feasible to find a larger-sized dog that is just as easy-going as these smaller breeds:
Cat Breeds For Seniors
Cats make great pets for seniors who prefer to stay home and relax. Since cats have a naturally high metabolism, indoor playtime is generally enough exercise for them.
The cat breeds we’ve found that are best for older adults are: American Shorthair, Burmese, Himalayan, Munchkin, and Persian. These five cat breeds were chosen primarily because they are affectionate and moderately active, at most. To keep your cat healthy and stimulated, make sure to provide plenty of toys.
After you’ve found your perfect match, visit your local shelter to find your soon-to-be companion. Remember to do your research to ascertain that owning a pet is right for you.
An alternative for those who are not able to own pets is a therapy dog, comes to your home with a certified handler. Pets can even be paired with a medical alert system, allowing you to feel relaxed, safe, and secure at all times.