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Senior citizens can get lonely sometimes. With their children in faraway places working hard, they don’t have many people to keep them company. To prevent them from developing depression and other mental health issues, a pup can be a great solution! Regardless of the age or lifestyle, the elderly should be able to find a pup that suits their needs.
Other than the mental benefits a canine pal can have, they can also help your grandparents live a longer and healthier life by keeping their spirits up and reducing their stress and at the same time lowering their blood pressure.
A lot of seniors neglect the importance of exercise. Having an energetic small breed dog can give them the push they need to put on sneakers and take a walk around the block.
Let’s take a look at some recommended breeds for senior companionship. We suggest smaller breeds because they do not require as much physical effort to control.
The Pug often secures a place on such lists because they are adorable and affectionate companions. They are small enough in stature and don’t require too much exercise. They are quite mischievous, but this will only put a smile on a senior’s face.
2. Shih Tzu
This breed originates from China and is often very affectionate and gentle dogs. They are barkers but they are actually very friendly. Shih Tzu’s are complete companion dogs and are suited to assisted living conditions or small apartments. Daily walks are enough exercise for the Shih Tzu, and for the rest of the day, they are perfectly content resting in the laps of the elderly.
These little critters are known for their petite size. They are easy to travel companions and don’t require much space. Don’t let their size fool you, they have a lot of attitudes! Their size does not stop them from wanting to protect their loved ones. They are fiercely loyal and protective by nature. Being so small, indoor exercises like ‘fetch’ would be enough for the less mobile seniors.
The Poodle makes it on all our service and companion dog lists not without good reason. They are highly intelligent and trainable, therefore they won’t depend on the elderly for care. The Poodle comes in three sizes, and we recommend the toy poodle for seniors. Even mixes of the poodle such as the Cockapoo and the ever so popular Labradoodle can take on the positive traits of both parents and be ideal for seniors.
This breed is a very popular and fashionable (for those who like to carry them in their purses) dog. They are small, gentle but full of life and energy. If they are not groomed regularly and their coat isn’t kept short, they do require a lot of upkeep. Perhaps your grandparent takes joy in pampering a little Maltese and giving her new hairdos.
6. Yorkshire Terrier
Another adorable lapdog, the Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie for short, are adorable and loving pups. They do not shed as much and don’t require as much cleanup, which will be easier on seniors. Much like the Maltese, these fur babies can have long hair that requires grooming. Very adaptable little fellows, the Yorkie is great for senior homes as they love human interaction and companionship.
A big spitz fan, I personally love little poms! They are adorable and tiny little balls of fur that fit in most communities. Because of their small size, they are easy to handle and won’t require the elderly to exert too much effort. They are very energetic but don’t require much exercise, similar to other dogs of this size. Make sure their coats are often brushed to avoid mats and maybe give them a little trim in the summertime. They can be a bit yappy, so that is something to be wary of.
The Schnauzer also comes in different sizes, and we recommend the miniature version. Terriers can often have a friendly temperament that carries over to their owners. Trainable dogs such as the Schnauzer are the most recommended for assisted living. They do require more exercise than a lot of the other breeds mentioned, so make sure the senior is mobile enough for daily play!
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Alongside the poodle, this is another breed that often graces our lists. Originally bred for King Charles, this Spaniel is intelligent, friendly and most of all quiet. Most smaller breeds are energetic and yappy, but King Charles Spaniel offers a nice change of pace and exhibits great patience. This is perfect for the elderly and their grandchildren.
Before you head out and adopt the cutest breed on this list, take a second to consider the following:
1. Age of the dog – A puppy will take a lot of work. The training and energy exertion alone could be too much for seniors to handle. A senior dog who is less active and already trained are better companions.
2. The needs of the elderly – If the elderly owner has mobility issues, make sure the breed doesn’t require a lot of exercises.
3. Temperament – This is advice we would give to anyone looking to adopt a dog. Take time to get to know it and spend a good amount of time together. Temperament is highly subjective regardless of breed and age. If you find that you and the dog get along, then that’s the fur baby for you!
Make sure you also comply with community policy before adoption. Dog ownership, in general, has great health and emotional benefits. We would also suggest looking into mixed breeds. They are usually healthier and could have shed some less than ideal genetic traits of their parents through the breeding process.
You never know with genes, so if there is a breed you trust and have your mind set on, by all means, go ahead with your original decision. Just make sure the dog you choose can adapt well to your lifestyle or the lifestyle of the owner.
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