Monthly Archives: July 2016

Senior Dogs Perfect For Seniors

dreamstime -old-man-playing-dog-his-bench-garden-47904587As our parents approach their senior years, their circle of friends often gets smaller. Or maybe yours have mobility issues or other conditions that prevent them from engaging in social activities or hobbies that once made them happy.

Have you ever considered getting them an older dog for companionship? Maybe rescuing one from a shelter? As a dog trainer, I have often seen how shelter dogs go from the pound to paradise as many seniors are retired and have lots  of time to spend with their dogs.

Unlike puppies, senior dogs do not have endless energy and depending on the breed can make great lap dogs. With an adult dog, you are more likely to have a good idea of the dog’s health history and temperament, and you’re past the time and money involved in raising a puppy.

Additional advantages of a senior dog include:

  • Studies have shown that from a physical standpoint, senior dogs can reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rate for senior citizens. They can even lower cholesterol and prevent a heart attack or stroke. How? Being with a dog helps to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone), and help boost levels of the serotonin (the happy hormone).Additionally, having a dog gives seniors something to focus on besides health problems or aging.
  • Reduces loneliness. Many seniors say that a dog can help reduce depression and feelings of isolation that come with increased age. Dogs are never off duty!
  • Purpose. Taking care of a dog gives many seniors a reason to get up and go in the morning. The desire to feel useful doesn’t necessarily end when the kids leave home or a career ends,
  • People benefit from exercise regardless of their age. Walking, playing or swimming with a dog is a great source of exercise.
  • Leave the house. Having a dog gives seniors a reason to leave home. Dogs need to be taken to the vet, the groomer or the grocery store to get pet food.
  • Too often seniors can be targeted for crimes such as burglaries. A barking dog can often deter a robber!
  • What better way to meet new friends than to walk a dog? Dogs make great icebreakers.

The key is finding the right breed and personality that matches to a senior’s lifestyle. For instance, many seniors do better with smaller dogs because they can be more manageable to carry or get in and out of a car.

Looking for some great breeds for seniors? Here are some articles that may help:

Top 10 Breeds for Seniors by A Place for Mom

Which Pets Fit the Elderly by Pittwater Animal Hospital

The Five Best Dogs For Your Golden Years by VetStreet

The Best Dog Breeds for Older People by PetRx
Even though I’m a dog trainer, many seniors finds cats comforting as well!