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The Best Dog Breeds For Older Adults
Interested in adding a canine companion to the family? As adults age into retirement and kids “leave the nest,” it’s common to feel like a little life is missing from the place. Dogs bring the vitality, cheer, and playfulness that helps keep you young, and also gives you (and your spouse) something to care for and enjoy together.
Depending on mobility, living situation, and even finances, the type and breed of dog that older adults choose will vary. Typically, smaller sized dogs (less than 10 lbs to 30 lbs) offer easier care and maintenance for older adults (easier to leash and walk, and they eat less food), as well as older dogs with lower-energy levels and good obedience training. Puppies are generally not a great idea for seniors who are getting a dog for the first time because they require vigilant training and exercise, are incredibly energetic, and can require more care than you can offer.
6 good companion dog breeds older adults should consider include:
Toy Pomeranians (Max 7lbs/3kg): Lively, affectionate, and eager to learn, little Pomeranians are active small dogs, and with proper training, will make great companions for seniors. Their soft cottony undercoat should be brushed regularly, and they shed once or twice a year.
Corgis (Max 31lbs/14kg): Highly energetic and intelligent, Corgis need firm direction from a loving pack leader. They can gain weight easily and need lots of walks and exercise. Comb and brush their coat with a bristle brush and bathe occasionally.
Toy Poodle(Max 9 lbs/4kg): Pint-sized poodles have cheerful personalities, are perky, and love people. A highly responsive breed, toy poodles will train well and need a strong pack leader to stay in line. Their notoriously curly coat requires frequent grooming and bathing.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (Max 18 lbs/8 kg): Gentle, graceful, and affectionate, King Charles Spaniels make royal additions to the family. They’re good with kids and need the occasional bath and frequent brushing of their coat.
Boston Terriers (Max 25 lbs/11 kg): Friendly dogs with amusing and lively traits, Boston Terriers are good around people and easy to train. They have a short-haired coat that can be groomed regularly with a bristle brush.
Shih Tzus (Max 16 lbs/7.25kg): Happy and hardy little dogs, Shih Tzus do well with other pets and are courageous, spunky little things. They shed very little but need daily grooming and a topknot to keep hair out of their eyes.
In addition to being fine pets for seniors, dogs are also great exercise motivators! Experts recommend canines get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise a day - whether it’s walking, going on hikes with you, or simply playing catch. Seniors who own dogs are more likely to get out of the house and exercise themselves which is an absolute must as you age - helping you maintain a healthy weight, regulate blood pressure and prevent heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Don’t forget, owning a pet can quickly tap into the retirement bank account - from food to boarding costs when you travel, to unexpected vet bills. Dogs are a commitment which is thoroughly welcomed by older adults who have the free time to care for one and the love to give. If you are a senior looking for the perfect breed, look for a mix of energy and docility, older age and smaller size.
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