Choosing the right breed of dog for seniors at home can be essential. But, right food for your dog is also a must. Whether you’re of a certain age or are buying a pet for your elderly parent, it’s vital to buy the best dog breed. You want a companion that’s friendly and will enhance the lives of those around it. The trouble is that there are lots of breeds and it can quickly get confusing. Unless you’re a breeder, knowing the best breed for seniors can be difficult.
So, what are the best dog breeds for seniors, and what do you need to know before committing to one?
The Scottish Terrier
Often referred to as the ‘Scotty dog’, the Scottish terrier is one of the most adorable and fun breeds to have. Terriers are small but loyal and they will bark when they’re affectionate (no yapping) and sit next to your feet throughout the day. Training these breeds is easy to do and that makes them easy to handle and not just because they’re small. They’ve got a lot of love to offer and are protective, so in a way, they make a great guard dog for most senior citizens.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Spaniels are fantastic breeds and really are the most affectionate dogs you’ll find anywhere. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are playful but easy to handle. You’ll probably hear them yap a little when they’re excited but are fairly sedate animals, depending on how old they are. Generally, these don’t weight more than eighteen pounds so that’s a reasonably small dog to handle. Training spaniels will be easy too because these are smart dogs. They do require a fair amount of grooming because of their long coats but a trip to the groomers should take care of that. They’re great for senior citizens though.
The Greyhound dog
While you might think a Greyhound is only suitable as a racing dog, they’re actually a great option for seniors. Greyhounds are bigger but leaner and love to lounge around the sofa all day. Of course, they mainly are used in greyhound racing but this breed makes an excellent pet for seniors too. They’re active but loyal and loving. You will enjoy taking them out on long walks and are fairly quiet dogs too. Greyhounds are easy to train and while they’re usually around eighty pounds, they’re lovely pets to handle.
The Maltese puppy
Maltese puppies are cute and when they grow into adults, they’re even more adorable. You won’t find a better dog for senior citizens than the Maltese. This breed is fiercely loyal and easy to train. They love short walks and spending time with their owners; and essentially, they’re lapdogs. If you want a companion, these are the ideal choice. Grooming isn’t too difficult and any major needs can be handled by a professional groomer so it’s not too bad. They’re small dogs, usually no more than seven pounds, and are easy to train.
Shih Tzu’s puppy
There’s no doubt the Shih Tzu is one of the best breeds for seniors and those with a lot of love to give. These are small dogs but very cute and lovely. You’ll need to take them for daily walks (but that also keeps you healthy) and are generally sturdy dogs. Maintenance for these dogs is minimal, to a degree, but requires daily brushing of their coats. On the plus side, they don’t shed a lot and are fairly quiet and playful.
The Basset Hound
Basset hounds are gorgeous and very down to earth. They do need a lot of exercise so daily walks are a must (as they tend to gain weight easily) but are lovely dogs. Basset Hounds have a lot of love to offer and while they’re stubborn, they’ll be loyal pets for you. There isn’t a lot of grooming required either so that’s ideal and as long as you’re able to give them the exercise they need, they’re brilliant dogs to have around.
Sometimes known as the ‘sausage’ or ‘wiener’ dog, the Dachshund is truly one of the best options for senior citizens. These dogs are fun and don’t require a lot of grooming to keep their coats nice and shiny. Dachshunds are affectionate and very loyal too and while they’re on the small side, they have a big personality and a lot of love to give. They’re ideal for families and seniors and will require daily walks, although, they can’t handle a lot of excessive exercise so that makes them ideal for older people.
The German Sheppard
Also known as the Alsatian, the German Sheppard is a big but beautiful dog. Everyone has an opinion over these breeds and while some will say they aren’t suited to seniors, others will disagree. The truth is that if the dog has been well trained, (and depending on their age,) they can be fiercely loyal and protective. They do need a lot of exercise though and lots of love too. These are playful dogs and they’re strong so seniors need to be able to handle a big dog like the German Sheppard. It’s a lovely dog but requires a lot of care.
The Labrador retriever
Beautiful and intelligent, Labradors are some of the most adorable breeds available today. They’re great for seniors who can still handle a bigger dog. Since they are a larger breed, they require a lot of care and attention and lots of exercise too. They’re similar to the German Sheppard in terms of their strength and exercise requirements but are loyal and playful. Labs can make an ideal watch or guard dog and are fairly easy to train. If you can handle a large breed, this may be ideal. Of course, if you treat them right and are trained well, they’re fantastic breeds to have around.
The Pembroke Welsh corgi
Corgis are fantastic breeds of dogs. These are small-to-medium sized dogs but make fantastic companions. The Welsh corgi is very smart and even easier to train so handling them won’t be too much of an issue. They’re cute and will enjoy a little fetch at the local park or in the back garden. Corgis tend to have little legs but they still require daily exercise, although nothing too strenuous.
What You Need To Consider Before You Get A New Dog?
If you’ve never owned a dog, it’s a big responsibility and can be extremely challenging too, no matter your age. There are a few factors you must consider before becoming a dog owner.
There Are Financial Obligations to Consider
Dogs are some of the best pets you can have as you enter your senior years, but there are a lot of expenses attached to them. For instance, medical bills can cost thousands of dollars every year, even with good pet insurance. Animals love to root around in places they shouldn’t and it may result in a serious injury that could be expensive (and very painful) for you and the dog. You also have to consider the added expense for dog food, grooming costs, and many other things. Then, if your dog does damage to someone else’s property, the burden to repair or replace what’s been damaged falls on you. It could be very costly.
Essentially, you have to be ready for the financial pressures of being a dog owner.
Lots of Exercise and Attention Is Required
While you like to play the odd game of fetch with your pet, you have to give them your all. Remember, dogs are like children, they need constant care, attention, and love; and they must be physically active to stay healthy. Whether you’re a senior citizen or otherwise, dogs, especially certain breeds, require lots of exercise and you need to be able to give them it. You need to be personally able to walk and exercise the dog, as well as pay them lots of attention day and night.
Pet-Proofing and Time-Consuming
Pet owners must pet-proof their apartment or home. So, what does that actually entail? All medications should be kept out-of-reach and chemicals, cleaners, and poisons should be kept in a secure cabinet. You also need to secure trash cans and use protective coatings around TV cables and wires so the dog can’t chew through them. There are lots of little things you can do to pet-proof and keep the dog safe. Also, pets are time-consuming so you need to be prepared to give a lot of your time to them too.
Responsibility Falls On You
As said above, you have to care for your pet and that means being responsible for them at all times – no matter what they do. This means if the dog gets loose and causes damage to a neighbor’s yard, you rectify the situation. Or, if the dog bites someone, you’re responsible. You’re also responsible for keeping the animal safe while they’re outdoors. Essentially, you have to think before you act when it comes to caring for a dog.
Pets can be wonderful companions but you have to be ready to take care of them. It’s a lot of pressure put on you so it’s essential to be ready for this task.
How to Care For Your Pets?
Caring for a pet is hard work and dogs require a lot of care and attention to ensure they’re safe and happy. Here are a few factors you may need to know to care for your dog properly.
Select The Right Dog Food
Feeding right and well is a necessity for your puppy, you need to choose the right dog food . The type of dog food you buy may determine how healthy the animal is. It’s essential to give the dog a healthy and balanced diet. Remember, every breed has different dietary requirements so you need to ensure you find suitable food to meet your dog’s dietary requirements. This will depend on the breed, size, and age. If you can, avoid feeding scraps to the dog, instead, opt for healthier dog treats or snacks.
Ensure There’s Plenty of Water Available To The Dog
Animals need to keep hydrated and they need to be able to access drinking water as and when it’s needed. If you can, leave a bowl of water out so the dog can drink when he or she is thirsty; and remember to top up when the bowl is nearly empty. This ensures your dog has plenty of water available and won’t go without.
A Dog Requires A Clean And Safe Environment
Every animal wants to be loved and cared for; this is what you must provide your pet, even when you reach a certain age. Dogs need a safe and clean living environment so that they’re able to live a full and happy life. Your home needs to be safe which means no poisons justify out for them to munch on and no sharp objects that may cut into their paws. Also, you need to ensure they have regular baths so their hygiene remains in top condition.
You Must Train Your Pet Well
Dogs are mischievous creatures but they are also loyal and playful. They need discipline so that they don’t hurt others or themselves so you have to ensure they get proper training. This is crucial and not as difficult as you might think. If you’re getting the dog as a puppy then it can be a little easier to train them from an early age. Even if you’re getting an older pet, training is necessary. Fortunately, you could turn to a professional dog trainer to help.
Grooming Is Necessary
Matted coats and overgrown nails can be painful for any animal and should be avoided at all costs. It’s essential for you to groom your pet regularly. For some that means brushing their coats once a day and taking them to a professional groomer once a month; however, it might require more. This depends on the breed of dog you have. There’s no excuse for a poorly groomed pet, even if you’re a senior citizen.
Regular Vet Checkups Are Necessary
Dogs must see a vet on a semi-regular basis. What that means is they need to have their shots every so often and a routine check-up to ensure they’re in the best health possible. What’s more, any illnesses can be picked up fairly quickly and it may just save their lives. This also includes taking care of their reproductive needs. If this is for a senior citizen, breeding with another dog may result in puppies and it’s a lot of hard work. You’ll need to think about if this route is suitable for you and your pet. Also, their dental needs must be seen to.
Give Them Plenty Exercise And Play
Dogs must be walked on a daily basis to remain healthy and avoid putting on unnecessary pounds. Remember, lazy or overfed dogs can become overweight and it’s really hard to drop the excess weight so they need lots of exercise. Sometimes, because of their genetics, some breeds may require more exercise than others and you’ll need to do your homework on the matter. What’s more, you need to play and interact with the animal as much as you can. Consider setting aside time for them and play with them.
Caring for your pets is far more than just playing fetch with them or taking them out for an afternoon stroll.
Where to Source a Pet for a senior
You may want to look at local animal or rescue shelters to find a suitable pet for a senior. Usually, the animals found here have been abandoned and are in need of a new and loving home. Fortunately, there are lots of different dog breeds to choose from with different personalities. However, some animals may require additional care because they’ve been abused by a previous owner and may be needier than other dogs.
You could also look to local pet stores or sellers to find a suitable pet. There are lots of people selling unwanted pets in local newspapers and could be the ideal place to start the search. Sometimes, local breeders could provide the answer for you. Unfortunately, there are lots of dishonest breeders out there so you have to do your homework and research on them to ensure they’re genuine and provide healthy dogs. Also, it’s worth thinking if a puppy or older dog is best. Both are hard work but puppies often require additional house training so that’s something to consider also.
If you need a senior aid dog, there may be programs to secure an animal and you’ll need to research such facilities. Fortunately, there are lots of sources to use to find a pet for a senior.
A Dog Is For Life
Dogs are a big commitment because they’re for life. These aren’t just toys you can use one minute and put away the next or because you’re bored of them. Seniors living alone can experience a lot of affection from a pet but they too need to be able to commit to the long-term care a dog needs. Fortunately, there are lots of friendly and loving breeds that can become a best friend. You’ll love what a dog can offer you so choose dog friend carefully.