The Best Pets for Seniors

This guest post was contributed by Maggie Drag, owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut.

Sometimes there’s no better companion to have by your side than a lovable pet. What’s better is that a pet offers countless benefits for older adults who may live alone, including:

  • companionship
  • affection
  • lowered blood pressure
  • enhanced mental focus

Here are some things to consider when deciding on the right pet for you or your loved one.

Choosing a Dog

Every dog has its own personality and sense of purpose. Thanks to centuries of domestic dog breeding and training, certain breeds are predisposed to serving as everything from lap dogs to hunting dogs. So be extra careful when choosing the right breed, especially if you have never owned a dog before.

Granted, not every chihuauha or pitbull is the same, so before adopting, see how the dog interacts with other members of your family. Is he calm and docile throughout the day, or excessively loud and difficult to train?

Adoption Centers, Shelters and Pounds

If you or your loved one are considering adopting an older dog, make sure that you are aware of the dog’s past. Was he a rescue dog that may have been abused?

Many older dogs were given up for adoption by families and older owners who could not care for them anymore.

Again, always be sure that the dog is suitable for you to avoid possibly life-threatening issues in the future.

Get Fit with Your Pet     

Daily walks are essential to a dog’s well-being, and it's a low-impact way for both pet and owner to get exercise!

Before getting a dog, be sure you will have the stamina to care for him/her properly. If you have the space, try fencing in a part of your yard to allow your dog space to roam freely.

Or, Try Adopting a Cat

To take care of any cat, you will need food, water, a litter box, and maybe an occasional visit to a groomer. These are the basics. Cats like their independence and require a lot less energy than a dog.

While some cats are super friendly, some can be moody and have the tendency to scratch (especially when you try to pick them up).

Many kittens are declawed when they are born, which you will be thankful for down the road.

Just like adopting a dog, be cautious when choosing a cat for you or your loved one. Try adopting an older cat in need of a home, well-tempered, and used to being a house cat.

Consider Parakeets and Cockatiels

You wouldn’t believe just how much joy (and not to mention some noise) a small bird like a parakeet or cockatiel can bring to your home. Visit any pet store like Petco where you’ll have a variety of beautiful birds from which to choose. The best part about parakeets? You can teach them to speak and whistle! Buy a proper cage and water bottle for your bird and stock up on bird feed to keep it satisfied.

Remember: Pets Are An Investment

Consider how much you are willing to spend when it comes to choosing a pet. Caring for any animal will require food, vaccinations, grooming costs, and vet visits.