Top 10 Best Dogs for Seniors
In addition to lowering your stress level, blood pressure and heart rate, pets are a tremendous source of companionship and dogs in particular are a great source of socialization. Did you ever walk a dog and not get into a conversation with someone? That’s super rare. From health benefits to a bigger social circle, there are plenty of merits of being a pet owner. For seniors, fur kids provide a sense of purpose, a source of exercise and they can be a great addition to an empty nest that’s beginning to feel a little lonely. Nothing can brighten your day like a wagging tail of a pooch that follows you wherever you go! A four legged friend can make you look forward to the future days once more.
However, when it comes to becoming a dog owner in your senior years, there are some important factors to consider before choosing your four legged companion. In your golden years, you want a pet that will enjoy your lifestyle the same way you do, and that will fit in perfectly with your pace and routine, maybe even improve some parts of it. But, with the amounting difficulties that naturally come with old age, you would want to consider easy-going, low maintenance dog breeds that don’t require too much exertion or have needs you would have difficulty meeting.
So, to make sure you and your new furry friend will be the right match, choose one of the senior-friendly dog breeds- or, find an adorable rescue mutt that fits all senior-friendly dog criteria to share your home and heart with. Either way, we’ve got you covered with the list of top 10 dog breeds for seniors and a short guide on important factors to consider when choosing a dog for someone older.
(Photo credit: McIninch/Bigstock)
For active seniors who love a long walk, the Corgi is a great bet. His compact size and a strong willed personality make him a great companion dog who is up for activity but not hyper. Corgis are quite goofy and natural born entertainers. They are also quite adjustable – they will be fine with both walks and playtime, but also with some snoozing and relaxation. Short legs and a long back make his ideal home environment one without a lot of stairs. Hey, you already have something in common! (Photo credit: Grisha Bruev/Bigstock)
Another great walking companion is the Frenchie. This solid little pooch is happy just to hang with you all day long and because he’s active but not super athletic, he’ll never tire you out with the need for lengthy walks. French Bulldogs don’t like a lot of running about. A few minutes of zooming all over the place and then it’s back to snoozing and napping. They are generally low maintenance in every aspect, making them easy to take care of. He loves to snuggle into a welcoming lap and because he’s such a low shedder, a lint brush is all you need. Warning, he does snore! (Photo credit: Eduard Vivsik/Bigstock)
This cross between a Golden Labrador and a Poodle is great for seniors with mobility issues that might cause them to worry about a smaller dog getting underfoot. Taking the best traits from both breeds, these dogs are ideal pets for anyone – not just seniors. This gentle natured pooch is often used as a therapy dog and is not high maintenance when it comes to exercise. His low shedding nature makes him an easy boy to clean up after. Their lovely looks might require a few trims here and there, but that shouldn’t be an issue. (Photo credit: SusanFeldberg/Bigstock)
The smart little Westie is considered to be the calm version of a terrier and he’s a perfect fit for apartments or smaller living accommodations. This pooch thrives on human interaction and wants to be with you at all times. Quite intelligent, a Westie can easily understand what is needed or wanted – they will get used to your daily routine with ease. His sturdy, compact size means he is not likely to be knocking anyone over and his moderate exercise needs make him ideal for those less active. Also, their dietary and grooming needs are also basic and not demanding, making them great as pets for seniors. (Photo credit: Ian Dikhtiar/Bigstock)
This mini pooch has a sweetheart of a personality and his playful antics can entertain for hours. He adores his human companions and loves his role as a lap dog. Because of his gentle nature he is often used as a therapy dog and while this social little guy loves to get out and show off his personality, a daily walk is all he really needs. Snoozing, goofing off, or walking with that classic bichon elegance – everything goes with these puppers. So, whatever you like or can do – so will your Bichon Frise. (Photo credit: Ian Dikhtiar/Bigstock)
This little dog with the big name adores being with his people and is naturally well behaved. Their graceful and cute looks are a definite eye catcher in the pet world, and can certainly bring up plenty of conversation along daily walks. He makes our list of best dogs for seniors because he can suffer from separation anxiety and needs a family who will be home for him. This breed craves affection and a loving relationship, and will love to be around you at all times. This active pooch needs a good daily walk but because of his good manners and small size, he doesn’t tug or pull which makes for an easy walk. This Spaniel breed has a loving and easy-going personality – an ideal match for people in their golden years. (Photo credit: otsphoto/Bigstock)
Surprise! These gentle retired athletes are ideal for seniors. They are well trained, have a mild sensitive manner and prefer a quiet environment – no, they don’t bark either. And in spite of their racing spirit, they’re cool with just getting out for a daily walk; remember, they don’t run marathons, they sprint, so long, drawn out hikes aren’t their thing. So no worries if you’re not up to strenuous activities- your Greyhound will be perfectly content with walks around the neighborhood. (Photo credit: Angled End/Bigstock)
This super intelligent dog with the distinctive appearance and playful personality is ideal for the older owner. He considers himself an important part of the family and just loves to spend his day with his human companion. A highly trainable breed, this little guy adores continual interaction and being pampered by someone with the time to spend on him. They will always be around and looking to join your daily activities. Besides, their elegant looks will earn a nice comment at the dog park all the time. (Photo credit: hin255/Bigstock)
This spunky little pooch is a well mannered, playful breed that adores human companionship and being the center of attention. One of the most loving and goofy breeds out there, the Miniature Schnauzer can really bring a dose of fun into your senior days. His passion for cuddling and belly rubs makes him a great option for a senior looking for someone to love. He is a minimal shedder and a couple of short walks a day are enough to keep this little guy fit and trim. Minimum hassle – maximum love. An ideal combo. (Photo credit: Elen33/Bigstock)
Finishing off the best dogs for seniors, this small breed is incredibly attentive to his pet parent and in spite of his tiny frame; he’s a pretty sturdy pooch. He’s highly affectionate and easy to maintain; shedding minimally. While he loves to be busy, his small stature means he is satisfied with brief, 10-15 minute daily walks followed by interactive play. And then, it’s all about that well deserved snoozing around the home. (Photo credit: kimrawicz/Bigstock)
What Traits to Look for In Dogs for Seniors?
Each dog is unique, and as a result, not every canine finds a perfect match in his human owner, so it’s important to think through before adopting a dog. While you might be a dog lover your whole life, that doesn’t mean that the same type of pooches will be a fit for your needs as the years pass. When it comes to choosing a dog that will fit a senior person’s lifestyle, here are the most important factors to consider:
- Activity demands
Unless the senior in question is still very active and an outdoorsy person, having a high energy dog could be too much of a challenge. Laid back pooches that do well with a few short walks a day and don’t need hikes or hours of playing fetch to burn off energy are a much better fit. Incidentally, these are usually either older dogs or smaller dogs, but more on that below. Some of the more adjustable breeds would be content with any situation. A short walk and a long day of lounging about is a good activity ratio that fits both parties involved!
- Personality compatibility
You should choose your four legged friend the same as you choose any friend – their personality must be a match for yours. If a shy, introverted senior gets a mischievous and hyper pooch, it’s highly likely that they won’t hit it off, so to speak. Make sure that not only the dog you pick has a nice personality overall, but that his quirks and temperament are also a fit for your own. If you find that your senior days are a bit challenging, get yourself a loving and low action pooch: you’ll love snoozing together.
- Grooming requirements
It’s not the same if your new roommate needs just a quick brushing a few times a week, or if his beauty regime includes regular baths, trims, or visits to a professional dog grooming salon. Before you commit, make sure that you can keep up with your new pet’s grooming demands.
- Size and age
It’s not the same if your new roommate needs just a quick brushing a few times a week, or if his beauty regime includes regular baths, trims, or visits to a professional dog grooming salon. Before you commit, make sure that you can keep up with your new pet’s grooming demands. Elegant pets with long coats and plenty of need for grooming are rarely a good choice for seniors: their coat can grow surprisingly fast and require plenty of attention (e.g. frequent visits to the groomer’s) that you cannot always offer.
More by Mary Simpson