Top 10 Best Dogs for Seniors
Pets make perfect companions for aging people. If you’re looking for a pooch to spend your golden years with, here are the 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. Ever walk a dog and not get into a conversation with someone? From health benefits to 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!
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.
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 strong-willed personality make him a great companion dog who is up for activity but not hyper. 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. 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. 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. (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. His sturdy, compact size means he’s not likely to be knocking anyone over and his moderate exercise needs make him ideal for those less active. (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. (Photo credit: Ian Dikhtiar/Bigstock)
This little dog with the big name adores being with his people and is naturally well-behaved. 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 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. (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. (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. (Photo credit: hin255/Bigstock)
This spunky little pooch is a well-mannered, playful breed that adores human companionship and being the center of attention. 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. (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. (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.
- 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.
- 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
In most cases, the size and age of a dog can be a good indicator of his energy levels and lifestyle requirements. Small breed dogs need less space and can enjoy spending time in a condo or an apartment, without pining for a big backyard. Even when they are perky and lively, the activity needs of small dogs can be met with less exercise than a big, young dog would require. Also, puppies might be super cute, but they are also a lot more work than an adult or senior pooch. Once past their puppyhood, dogs are a much better match for seniors as they are usually already fully trained and much calmer.