Just because we get older, it doesn’t mean the end of the road for canine companionship. Studies have shown that seniors being around animals can greatly improve their condition and mental state. One study actually compared the presence of a dog versus a “happy person” who visited seniors in a nursing home and how positively the residents reacted to their presence. It was found that residents were equally receptive to visitation from the dog as they were to the happy human visitor.
Characteristics to look for in a dog suited for senior living
When considering the best dog personalities and characteristics for seniors, it's essential to focus on breeds or individual dogs that are well-suited for a calmer and more relaxed lifestyle. Here are some traits to look for:
Gentle and Calm Temperament: Dogs that are naturally gentle, calm, and less prone to high-energy bursts are often a good fit for seniors. A dog that is not overly hyperactive or excitable can be easier to manage and more enjoyable for older individuals.
Affectionate and Loving: Dogs that are affectionate and enjoy being close to their owners can provide comfort and companionship to seniors. Dogs that seek physical affection and give it in return can be great emotional support.
Low to Moderate Exercise Needs: Breeds with lower exercise requirements or individual dogs that are content with short walks or play sessions are better suited for seniors who may not be able to keep up with more energetic breeds.
Trainable and Well-Behaved: Dogs that are easy to train and have good manners are essential for seniors who may have less physical strength or mobility. A well-behaved dog is safer and more manageable.
Low Grooming Requirements: Dogs with minimal grooming needs are more practical for seniors who may have difficulty with grooming tasks or prefer not to spend too much time on grooming.
Small to Medium Size: Smaller or medium-sized dogs are generally more manageable for seniors, especially if they live in smaller spaces or have limited mobility.
Low Aggression and Good with Strangers: Dogs that are not overly aggressive and are comfortable around strangers can make socializing easier for seniors, especially when they have visitors or need to interact with other people while walking the dog.
Low Barking Tendency: Excessive barking can be a nuisance and stressful for seniors, so dogs that are not overly vocal may be more suitable.
Remember, individual personalities can vary within breeds, so it's crucial to consider each dog's unique traits and temperament.
Best breeds for seniors and retirees
Everyone ages and with that may come changes in mobility, energy and health. Good news is that there are some dog breeds that make a good match for that situation. Keep in mind that dogs live 10-15 years and senior owners need to be sure that they can meet their dog's needs like exercise, grooming, and health care (no matter how low maintenance the breed is). And with that, here are 10 of the best dog breeds for seniors!
Health concerns: Brachycephalic syndrome, PRA, Luxating patella, Legg-perthes, epilepsy
Personality:Playful amiable, confident
A special mention goes out to any senior dog adoption. Old dogs deserve love too and a senior dog will generally fit into a low maintenance lifestyle no matter the breed. They may just require extra care when it comes to changes in health status.
In summary, the best dogs for seniors are those with gentle and calm temperaments, affectionate and loving natures, and low to moderate exercise needs. Breeds or individual dogs that are easily trainable, well-behaved, and have minimal grooming requirements are also ideal. Smaller or medium-sized dogs are generally more manageable, and those with low aggression and barking tendencies make for a more pleasant and stress-free companionship. Ultimately, the perfect canine companion for a senior is one that can provide comfort, companionship, and joy, while being a compatible and safe addition to their life, enhancing their overall well-being and happiness. Whether adopting from a shelter or considering specific breeds, the right dog can bring immeasurable joy and enrich the lives of seniors in numerous ways.