Any dog owner can tell you there's nothing like having a loyal companion. Dogs are good pets for people of any age, as long as you choose the right dog for your lifestyle.
If you’re an older adult looking to find a furry, four-legged friend, here are a few things you should consider.
Why Get a Dog?
It’s a big responsibility, but the benefits are worth the work. Dogs can give you joy, companionship, and unconditional love. They can bring warmth and comfort into your life.
Better health. Decades of studies have shown the health benefits of spending time with dogs. Dog owners tend to have better heart and blood vessel health, including lower blood pressure, than those who don't have a pet pup. That's because dogs get people moving. Walking a dog regularly can help you boost how much exercise you get each day.
Less lonely. Dogs offer companionship just by being around. They might also help you be more social. Taking your dog on walks gives you a chance to meet neighbors or other canine owners at the local dog park.
Much happier. Looking at your dog can release a hormone that makes you feel happier. Science shows that gazing into your dog's eye releases oxytocin. Known as the love hormone, oxytocin quickly boosts your mood.
Caring for a Dog
Before you get a furry pal, you should think about what you can offer the dog, as well as what they can offer you. You want to make sure to choose a dog that will be happy with the kind of life you lead. Consider these things when you start looking for a new pet.
Space. How much room do you have indoors and outdoors? You need to pick a dog that will be happy with the space you have to offer.
Exercise. Some dogs need a lot of exercise, while others are happy hanging out on the couch all day. Think about how much exercise time you can give your pup. Also, think about how fit you are. You may not want a large, strong dog that could tug hard on the leash and cause you to get hurt on a walk.
Cost. All dogs need vet care, food, and toys. If they need a lot of grooming, you need to consider paying a professional groomer.
Age. Puppies are cute, but they're also a lot of work. Older dogs may already have some training, but they might be set in their ways. Spend some time thinking about what you're willing to accept in dog behavior.
Best Breeds for Seniors
Here are a few breeds that are natural choices for older adults.
Bichon Frise. These dogs are very small and cute. Their fluffy coats need regular grooming. They're happy in small homes and apartments, and they only need moderate exercise.
Cocker spaniels. These dogs are known for their beautiful, soft coats, which need regular grooming. They're gentle and friendly, and usually weigh under 30 pounds. They need regular walks to stay fit, but they aren't highly energetic.
Beagles. They’re small, smart, and make wonderful companions. Their short coats are easy to groom. Beagles are energetic and need a lot of exercise every day.
Greyhounds. They can run fast, but they don't always want to. They're happiest lounging around indoors, but they need walks to stay fit. They're large, usually weighing around 60 pounds, but they have short coats that don't require a lot of grooming.
Pugs. These happy little dogs make great companions. They’re usually around 15 pounds and have short, easy-to-groom coats. They need more exercise than they want because they're prone to be overweight. Regular walks can take care of that.
If you're an older adult looking for a four-legged companion, you can speak to a veterinarian or a dog trainer in your area for more information. They can help you choose the perfect pet.