Everything you need to know about the best dogs for seniors – Forbes Health
Dogs can live up to 14 years (some even longer) and are considered to be aged 7 years. Smaller dogs generally have a longer lifespan than larger dogs.
Puppies are not a great choice for most seniors, as they need to be domesticated and can be destructive, requiring continuous supervision. “Puppies are very energetic and it can be difficult for an elderly person who is sedentary or has health issues to keep up with them,” says Jill Rappaport, animal advocate, network reporter and six-time Genesis Award winner. from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “Older pets prefer to sleep on the couch rather than eat it, so they are better matched,” she adds.
“My husband and I are seniors and we just adopted an 8 year old Australian Shepherd named Addie, and she has definitely helped improve our mental and physical health,” says Barbara Castleman, media relations manager for Gray Muzzle, a group that offers grants to organizations that help older dogs. “Like most people who have adopted senior dogs, we would definitely do it again. After all, love has no age.
For older people in the late ’70s or’ 80s, Rappaport says middle-aged dogs are more suitable than senior dogs. “Super-senior dogs have a lot of the same health issues as humans,” she says. “Their eyes and ears can start to fail and they can have illnesses that can be overwhelming for the animal and the person. Instead, I recommend a large dog between 5 and 7 years old for this age group, or a small dog between 8 and 10 years old.
Rappoport says it’s also important to think about a dog’s lifespan when considering adopting one. If you are now 80 years old and adopting a young dog, there is a good chance that the dog will survive you, so it is important to make arrangements for your pet to be cared for by someone you trust.
Some dogs, such as herding breeds like the Border Collie and German Shepherd, and sporting dogs like the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever, need to be tired if you want them to behave well at home. You should also teach your dog to walk properly on a leash and to come back to you if he is not on a leash. If you are not someone who enjoys taking your dog for long daily walks or taking your pet to a dog park to run and play with other dogs, then consider purchasing a small dog or a more sedentary dog like a bulldog who will be happy to stay home with you.
Small dogs (between 8 and 20 pounds at maturity) are generally better for older people, explains Rappoport. It can be difficult for seniors to walk a strong dog on a leash or lift a 50-pound dog if they need help getting into a car or climbing stairs.
Large, small breeds to consider include:
- Bichon frize
- Shih tzu
- Miniature poodles
Rescue mixes from these breeds and crossbreed mixes like Cavapoos (Cavalier King Charles spaniel and miniature poodle) and puggles (pug and beagle) are also ideal.
Some dogs like Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Doodles (mixtures of Poodles and other breeds) are less likely to lose weight than others (like Labrador Retrievers, which have a double coat). These so-called hypoallergenic dogs can reduce the need for frequent vacuuming, as well as allergy symptoms in people with allergies to dogs. Be aware, however, that many small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Poodles require professional grooming to trim their fur or hair, which is an additional expense to consider.
Dogs, in general, are loving and affectionate animals that easily bond with their human companions. But small breeds can bark. Terriers are notorious for not getting along well with other dogs. Some breeds like Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls can be aggressive, which seniors should avoid. And other dogs like pugs can be difficult to train.
It is important to research the personality quirks of the breeds you are considering to ensure that your dog will have a temper that you like. You can learn more about the characteristics of the breed on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website.
The cost of owning a dog
The initial cost of acquiring a dog and everything you need to care for it averages about $ 2,100, according to the AKC. (The cost will likely be a bit higher if you buy a purebred dog from a breeder.) From this point on, expect to spend around $ 2,500 per year on vet bills, food, grooming, toys, etc. supplies and fees for pet sitters. Small dogs tend to cost a little less, around $ 1,831 per year.
Even if you want a purebred dog, be aware that you may be able to find one at a local shelter or breed-specific rescue organization, Rappaport explains. Avoid pet stores and only buy from reputable breeders who are not puppy mills (unethical breeders who overcrowd females and breed puppies in unhealthy conditions). Common red flags include a breeder’s reluctance to show you around their facility and brag about credentials such as USDA approval (which does not exist, you may be licensed by the USDA but not approved).