Dogs can be great companions for a senior citizen, especially for someone who is living in an assisted living community. The health benefits of having a furry companion have proven to be therapeutic to your body and your soul. Playing with your dog or taking them for a short walk in your community may seem like simple things, but they provide opportunities for exercise that you may not otherwise get on a daily basis. If you or a family member live in an assisted living facility and you would like a dog for a companion there are a few thing to consider before you decide which breed is best.
Things to Consider Before Choosing A Breed
- Medical Needs and Ability to Care for a Pet
When considering which pet is best for you, make sure to consider what limitations you have when it comes to caring for them. If you cannot take them for a walk every day, are they small enough to get exercise inside of your apartment or will you need someone to help you? If you lead a relatively slow paced life, it may not be the best to get a hyper puppy that will tire you out.
- Community Flexibility
Some assisted living communities only allow dogs that meet certain height and weight requirements. Make sure that the breed you decide upon meets the community standards to avoid heartbreak down the road.
- Breed of the Dog
Dogs can be bred for companionship or hunting, so make sure that you choose a breed that will not overpower you and possibly cause you physical harm. A small dog that is relatively calm is best for an assisted living community, where noise levels may be a concern.
- Age of the Dog
Older dogs are great for seniors. They tend to be trained and much less demanding than a puppy who wants to play with you all day long. Additionally, studies have shown that small dogs tend to live longer than large ones, so they will be a companion for a long time, even if they are acquired later in life.
Top Five Companion Dog Breeds for Seniors
Now that you have considered different breeds and the traits that will make the best furry companion, it’s time to decide which is best for you.
Pugs are small, affectionate and playful animals that are great for seniors. They do shed a lot, but they do not require a lot of walking, since their energetic nature will give them exercise while they are indoors.
These playful dogs are perfect for a senior who is looking to stay active. They are a playful breed that comes in a miniature version, which makes it easy to meet assisted living community requirements.
- Boston Terrier
Boston terriers are bred to be a companion to a human in need. Their friendly and loving nature is perfect for someone who wants a furry friend to watch television with them. They do not require much grooming, but they do need a lot of your attention.
- Shih Tzu
These small lap dogs are perfect for small spaces. They do require a bit of grooming and they tend to be vocal. Daily walks and indoor play will help keep their playful nature at bay. Additionally, the Shih Tzu is a breed that tends to live a long life.
Poodles come in a variety of sizes, from varieties to small dogs that fit in your hand. These smart and loving dogs are a perfect companion for a senior. They are easy to groom. An added bonus for this breed is that they are hypo-allergenic.
Everyone needs a companion, especially an elderly person who may not have a lot of family nearby. Hopefully this guide will help you find a dog that fits your needs as well as your personality.
About Senior Path:
We are a professional, senior housing advisory service which provides personal attention to Seniors and their families. We employ a staff of talented, caring Advisors who have vast experience helping Seniors and their families through this transition. Our Advisors have extensive backgrounds in the Senior Care industry enabling them to understand what Seniors want and need.