A Best Friend In Your Later Years: Choosing The Perfect Canine Companion
Tue, Jun 18, 2019 at 3:15PM

A Best Friend In Your Later Years: Choosing The Perfect Canine Companion

Individuals who are more than 65 years old and have a pet seek medical help 30% less often than their counterparts who don’t own a pet. Dogs are ideal companions for senior citizens, as they offer loyalty, provide happiness, and give unconditional love that positively affects the lives of seniors. Dogs accept their owner as someone to love and someone who loves them back, and they can make a perfect companion in your later years. Aside from the breed, as a retiree adopting a dog, you need to consider the size, age, health history, and temperament.


Size Matters

Size does matter when choosing a canine companion when you are already retired.  For many practical reasons, smaller breeds are the most suitable choice for elderly people, except for small breeds that have high energy levels such as a Jack Russell Terrier or Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can transport a small dog in a pet carrier and easily take him to places. Giving the dog a bath is also more manageable because the dog can fit in a sink. Most importantly, you are at a lower risk of getting injured while dog walking because small dogs are easier to handle. As such, you can reap the benefits of exercising more without spending too much.


Check The Age And Health History

It is recommended to get an adult dog rather than a puppy for several reasons. Adult dogs are calmer, have more predictable behaviors, are often already housebroken, and have lower activity needs. Older dogs are compatible with the lifestyle of an elderly person, and yet still provide the same emotional and therapeutic benefits to the owner. Moreover, you can also know the health history of the dog, which is important when you’re on a fixed income, as most retirees are. The healthy history can tell you about any preexisting health conditions and may prepare you for any emergency expenses.

Adopting an older animal also gives you the opportunity to rescue a dog from a shelter or rescue group. As well as offering a dog a happy new home, this will allow you to consider mongrels: mixed breeds often have fewer health issues compared to the pure breeds. A total of 6 to 8 million animals end up in shelters, half of which will never be adopted. Most shelter and rescue groups conduct a comprehensive analysis of each animal, and ensure that they will be a good fit with their potential family through training them, which is of as much benefit to the new owner as it is to the dog, so by choosing this route, you can be confident that you will end up with a good match for your needs.


Temperament Matters As Well

A dog’s temperament is also important to consider when choosing one. Temperament is influenced by various factors such as breed, age, and how the dog was socialized and treated as a puppy. Most elderly individuals seek dogs that are affectionate and even-tempered. As a potential owner, you have to consider whether you can manage the current temperament of the dog. Spend time with a variety of shelter dogs before you make your decision to be sure you find the right fit.

Before bringing home a dog, make sure that you consider your lifestyle and the needs of yourself and your new friend. Spend some time with the dog before making a commitment: every dog has its own personality. Find the one that best suits yours, and make sure you choose each other.

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