Choosing good dogs, for seniors or anyone else, can be a fun and enriching process. But it starts with assessing the needs and wants of a prospective owner (which might be you or a loved one). After all, everyone has a unique set of preferences, so the kind of dog that makes the best pet will vary from one older adult to another. Some seniors gravitate toward smaller dogs that can cuddle in a lap, while other prefer larger dogs that can romp around and play fetch. Ultimately, any breed of dog is good for older people if it meshes with their abilities, likes, and lifestyles.
This article will help you figure out what factors you need to consider in your search for the perfect canine companion. You’ll also read about 18 specific breeds that are among the best dogs for seniors, including a range of both small dogs and large dogs. You’ll explore the uses of (and distinctions between) therapy, support, and service dogs. And you’ll learn about the emerging trend of robot pets.
So keep reading. The information may just help you achieve greater vitality. After all, it’s well established that dog ownership can lower people’s stress and blood pressure levels. Having a dog is a great way to get some exercise, socialize with others in your community, and enjoy the benefits of companionship. Many seniors also thrive on the experience of nurturing and caring for another living being.
How to Choose the Best Dog for an Older Person
8 of the Overall Best Companion Dogs for Seniors
What are some of the best companion dog breeds? Elderly people have a wide range of needs and preferences, so the perfect pet for one senior may be entirely unsuitable for another. That said, some breeds have certain combinations of traits that make them popular choices for retirees. Here are eight of the top companion dogs for older adults:
7 Small Dogs That Aren’t Yappy
The best small companion dog is a matter of personal preference. Many older adults look for small, calm dogs that don’t bark without a good reason and aren’t over-exuberant. By that measure, small dogs that make the best pets include the odd-looking but charming pug as well as little white lap dogs like the shih tzu and bichon frise. (The Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the Boston terrier, described in the above section, would also qualify). Check out the following examples of calm, small dogs that are not yappy:
3 of the Best Large Dog Breeds for Seniors
Bigger dogs are often very playful when they’re outside, but calm when they’re indoors. Provided you have a large yard or open space for them to burn off their energy, they can be very good companions. Some older adults feel more secure with a large dog around that can intimidate unwanted visitors (even though many big dogs are actually gentle giants). Here are three options you may want to consider:
Find the Perfect Pooch
Good dogs for seniors are ones that closely match their owners’ abilities and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a dog that’s big or small, active or sedate (or even robotic), you can find a furry friend that’s right for you.
- 1 Western Journal of Nursing Research, “Resident Dog in the Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit,” website last visited on September 14, 2018.
- 2 Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, “Animal-Assisted Therapy and Loneliness in Nursing Homes: Use of Robotic versus Living Dogs,” website last visited on September 14, 2018.
source: text taken from post originally published in greatseniorliving.com