To combat senior loneliness, advocates suggest a wide range of measures to build a sense of community for seniors. In addition to strengthening relationships with friends and family, pets are also a way to boost senior happiness. Let’s go over how dogs can provide companionship and a list of the best dogs for seniors. Bow-wow!
About best dogs for seniors
Who is too old to get a dog?
There’s no age limit on getting a dog. As long as a senior is capable of performing basic care tasks such as feeding, grooming and walking the dog, there’s no reason why he/she can’t have a pet. In fact, seniors are often excellent dog owners.
What are the benefits of dogs for seniors?
Dogs can benefit seniors in several ways, including:
- Provide companionship: They’re not called man’s best friend for nothing. Dogs are great companions for accompanying seniors during their golden years.
- Improve physical health: Going on regular dog walks can help seniors stay active. It’s a good excuse to get moving and take a stroll to a nearby park.
- Boost mental health: Dogs can also reduce stress and anxiety. They’re also great companions to combat senior loneliness and these health risks.
What are some key considerations for dogs for seniors?
If you’re interested in getting a dog, you should keep these considerations in mind. Some dog breeds may be more suitable for your personal needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Energy: Dogs that are calm and quiet may be best for seniors.
- Size: Size will mostly depend on your housing. Do you have indoor space or a backyard for a larger dog?
- Grooming: Are you willing and able to perform grooming, or would you rather have a low-maintenance breed?
- Disposition: Dogs have a range of personalities. Seniors may like gentle, friendly dogs who enjoy companionship.
- Age: Puppies aren’t usually recommended for seniors because they require lots of care and attention. However, all other dogs are great for seniors. Even older dogs may have the calm personality that seniors may like.
- Other pets: Do you have other pets? Are they friendly? Are you able to balance care between them?
What are types of dogs should seniors avoid?
While every senior has a sense of what’s best, there are some general trends for types of dogs that seniors should avoid. This includes dogs that are high-energy, yappy, very large or puppies. These dogs may be too much for a senior to handle or enjoy caring for. Luckily, many dog breeds are available that are great for seniors.
Best types of dogs for seniors
The type of dog you choose will depend on your preferences and personal situation. Here are some excellent senior-friendly dogs, including small dogs and medium-to-large dogs. In addition, you’ll see dogs grouped by their function, including hypoallergenic, non-shedding, low-maintenance and guard dogs. You’ll notice that some dog breeds appear in multiple categories.
We hope this guide helps you determine the best type of dog for your home. If you’d like more information about each dog breed, you can get a fuller description on the American Kennel Club website.
Best small dogs for seniors
Many small dog breeds are ideal for seniors because they’re easy to maintain and have a friendly personality. Here are some of the recommended small dogs for seniors:
- Shih Tzus: These famous smooshed-faced dogs are adorable, adaptable and friendly companions. Regular exercise and grooming are needed. They may be somewhat yappy.
- Pomeranian: These tiny dogs are good-natured and easy to handle. Their thick coat may need regular brushing and they may be somewhat yappy.
- Pug: Their adorable squished faces and good nature are perfect for seniors. They’re both cuddly and active. One of the few small dogs that isn’t yappy.
- Bichon Frise: These sweet dogs are hypoallergenic and friendly. They enjoy visitors of all kinds. Regular exercise and grooming are needed.
- Chihuahua: These tiny dogs are friendly and have big personalities. They like being carried around and snuggling with their owners. Not much exercise or walks needed. Somewhat yappy.
- Boston Terrier: These playful dogs are full of personality. They’re both super friendly and low-maintenance.
- Maltese: This long-living lapdog is affectionate and loves to snuggle. They’re also hypoallergenic.
- French Bulldog: Frenchies are happy-go-lucky bulldogs that are active and loyal. They’re low-maintenance as well.
- Japanese Chin: These playful lapdogs are loyal and full of personality. They’re alert to strangers, which can be good for seniors living alone.
- Scottish Terrier: Scotties are playful, loyal and hypoallergenic. They’re great for daily walks. Some grooming needed.
- West Highland White Terrier: Westies are playful and low-maintenance. They’re friendly as can be.
- Lhasa Apso: These pups are loyal and good-natured companions. They’re great guard dogs and may bark if needed.
Best medium-sized dogs for seniors
Medium-to-large dogs can also be great companions for seniors. Here are some of the best “gentle giants” for seniors:
- Pembroke Welsh Corgis: Corgis are adorable, friendly companions that love a good walk.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: These good-natured dogs are gentle, snuggly adaptable.
- Golden Retriever: Goldens are loveable companions who will stay by your side. They require regular exercise.
- Poodle: These cuties are hypoallergenic though need some regular grooming. They’re smart, loyal and easy-going.
- Goldendoodles: These dogs are a mix of Golden Retriever and Poodle. These adorable pooches are loyal, playful and low-maintenance.
- Greyhounds: Often called “gentle giants,” Greyhounds are friendly, easy-going and great for long walks.
- Standard Schnauzer: These mustache-famed dogs are friendly and easy-going, as well as hypoallergenic. They’re both snuggly and playful.
- Beagle: Sweet, cute and playful, beagles are great for seniors. They enjoy a good walk and are fairly active.
- Otterhound: These long-living and adorable pooches are friendly and fun. They need some grooming but are overall low-maintenance.
Other types of dogs for seniors
In addition to our list of small and medium-sized dogs for seniors, we’ve categorized them by other functions, including hypoallergenic, non-shedding, low-maintenance and guard dogs.
Best hypoallergenic dogs for seniors
If you’re a senior with allergies, don’t fret. There are some dog breeds that won’t make your allergies flare up. Here’s a list of great hypoallergenic dogs for seniors:
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
Best non-shedding dogs for seniors
Caring for your dog can also be a challenge in your older years. These dogs are known for being easy-to-groom so you don’t have to bring your dog to grooming appointments and clean up shedding around your home.
- Boston Terrier
Best low-maintenance dogs for seniors
If you’re not around during the day, here are some dogs that are low-maintenance and won’t mind you being away for hours as you do errands or socialize with friends:
- Boston Terrier
- Lhasa Apso
- Japanese Chin
Best guard dogs for seniors
Finally, if you’re a senior living alone and you want extra protection, these are great guard dogs for seniors. They’ll alert you to any intrusions.
- Standard Schnauzers
- Boston Terrier
- Lhasa Apso
Other pet considerations
What are some pet alternatives?
At the same time, seniors have other alternatives to getting a pet. These days, there are other ways to reap the benefits of having a dog, including:
- Pet therapy: Pet therapy involves bringing dogs and other animals to seniors for an hour-long session. This is a common activity at a care facility or an adult daycare program. If a senior doesn’t want the responsibility of a pet but enjoys dogs, pet therapy is a great way to boost mood and reduce stress.
- Foster pets: Fostering pets is also an option for seniors who would like to host dogs temporarily. This can be done in partnership with your local animal shelter or pet foster home. It’s important to note that some foster pets may need more care and attention than others.
- Robot pets: Another interesting option is robot pets. This new movement brings the companionship of pets without the responsibility. Initial studies with robot pets show that owners build bonds with them.
What are some dog care ideas for seniors?
If you decide to get a dog, you can make pet care easier with these senior-friendly ideas. This way, you can focus on enjoying your dog.
- Arthritic-friendly leashes: Seniors who walk their dogs may benefit from buying an arthritic-friendly leash. They’re affordable and make dog-walking easier on the hands.
- Dog food delivery: Dog food can be heavy and hard to carry. Consider getting dog food delivered to your door to avoid the inconvenience of buying it at the store.
- Pet apps: Nowadays you can enjoy a host of different pet apps with feeding reminders, health monitoring and other fun extras. It’s a great way to stay connected to your pet care!
Where can I buy/adopt dogs for seniors?
Your local animal shelter will likely have lots of dogs to choose from. It’s an excellent idea to start your pet search there, so that you can give an animal a forever home. However, if you can’t find the dog you’re hoping for at your local animal shelter, you can always buy your dog from a pet store or breeder.
Dogs are just one aspect of senior health. If you’re looking for more information about senior topics, including healthcare and housing, be sure to check out MyCaringPlan.
- Dog Breeds, American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/
- Best Dogs for Seniors, Daystar Retirement Village, https://info.daystarseattle.com/senior-living-blog/best-dogs-for-seniors
- 12 Best Dogs for Seniors, The Spruce Pets, https://www.thesprucepets.com/best-dog-breeds-for-seniors-4138298
- 12 Best Dogs For Seniors: Top Dogs For Seniors & Elderly, K9 of Mine, https://www.k9ofmine.com/best-dogs-for-seniors/