Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
Retirement is one of the best times to adopt a new furry friend to keep you company. Owning a dog can make a huge difference in the psychological and physical health of a person (especially an elderly person).
Did you know owning a dog tends to increase physical activity, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol?
Dogs help the elderly feel less lonely, lower depression rates and help promote social interaction. Dogs have even been known to increase mental alertness in seniors with Alzheimer’s. Seniors also tend to take better care of themselves when they have a dog to care for.
Here are the three best dog breeds for seniors:
- Pekingese, or Lion Dogs, is an ancient breed that originated in Peking, China. They were companions of royalty and lived only in the Imperial Palace. They often rode in the sleeves of robes worn by the nobility, which is why they are also sometimes referred to as “sleeve dogs”. They are a highly intelligent dog but their independent thinking may cause them to be a bit stubborn at times. It is important to socialize early to ensure they grow into a well-adjusted adult. They are a loving and affectionate breed but tend to become more attached to one person in the family, making them a great choice for a single elderly person. Pekingese are always on alert and will bark at strangers if they get too close to their home so they make great watchdogs. Grooming can be a hassle for seniors, but the Pekingese only requires regular brushing to keep their coat long. Some owners opt to have them shaved down as they are easier to maintain with shorter fur, a great choice for an elderly dog owner. Pekingese should also be bathed at least once a month, so starting this habit at a young age is important. It is also very important to wipe down their wrinkly face daily. Pekingese are a relatively healthy breed but due to being a brachycephalic breed they are sensitive to heat and have a low tolerance for exercise. Their minimal exercise requirements make them ideal for apartments and less active seniors. Overall this breed is loving, loyal, and makes the perfect pet for someone who has the time to properly train them but doesn’t want a rambunctious high-energy dog during their retirement.
- Yorkshire Terrier, this teacup sized companion makes the perfect pet for all kinds of people. They are sweet, affectionate, and devoted. Yorkies weigh an average of 4-7 pounds and have a long silky coat that comes in Black & Tan, Black & Gold, Blue & Tan, or Blue & Gold. Yorkies are considered hypoallergenic, which may be a bonus for elderly owners who want a dog but are worried about their allergies and health problems. Daily brushing is required for those wanting to keep the dogs’ lustrous coat at a long length and tangle-free. As with other small dog breeds, they are prone to dental issues. Daily tooth brushing is recommended. Yorkies are generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 12-16 years. They are very intelligent and easy to train. Just be sure not to spoil them too much or it could lead to undesirable behaviors. They are active dogs but due to their small size, they have minimal exercise needs, which make them great for apartments and seniors who don’t lead an active lifestyle. Their small size also makes them very inexpensive to feed. When cared for properly, the Yorkshire Terrier will be an amazing companion during retirement.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this loveable lapdog is one of the sweetest dog breeds on the planet. It’s no wonder they are one of the most popular breeds in the U.K. and quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. Cavaliers are among the largest of all the toy breeds, weighing in at an average of 13 to 18 pounds. Their minimal grooming needs make them an ideal choice for elderly dog owners who don’t want the responsibility of daily brushing and regular baths. Regular brushings and bi-weekly bathing are ample. Cavaliers have long, slightly wavy hair that comes in four different colors; red and white, tricolor, black and tan, and red. They are generally quiet so they do not make good watchdogs but this trait makes them better suited for apartment living. Cavaliers are easy to train, making them great for senior or novice dog owners. This outgoing breed is great with children and other dogs. They are just an all around amazing dog for retirees.