Best Dog Breeds for
Seniors & Retirees
Best Dog Breeds for Seniors: Our Top Recommendations
Would you agree that Small
is usually better when considering which breed is best for senior citizens.
Admittedly, we’re a little biased around
here, but there’s lot to be said about the perfect dogs for senior citizens and
retirees. Big or small..
The warmth, companionship, love and entertainment that dogs
provide can make all the difference in the life of an older person.
- What is better than a companion who is always cheerful, eager
to please, and thinks you are the best person in the entire world?
- Who could resist a companion that gives us unconditional love
24/7 and asks nothing in return but a bowl of food, a drink of water, a warm
lap and a few caresses, now and again?
- Why spend hundreds on expensive
entertainment when you can have a companion
that makes us smile and provides free entertainment?
We know that dog ownership can benefit humans in many ways,
all of which are vitally important as we reach our senior years.
For at least 15,000 years and perhaps much longer, dogs have
lived side by side humans.
There must be
something to this human--dog bond.
the health benefits of owning a dog is now well established. All the important health and psychological reasons
for owning a dog are especially critical as we age. For example, did you know…
Benefit of Dog Ownerships
- Dog ownership increases survival rates after
- Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides.
blood pressure and stress
feelings of well-being
- Lower rates
of depression by elevating the levels of serotonin and dopamine.
- Help feeling
promote social interactions with other people
- May reduce the demand for medical care for
non-serious health issues
- Pets have been shown to build self-esteem,
increase mental alertness,
and lift the spirits of people with Alzheimer's
- Seniors also tend to care for themselves better when
they own a pet.
But, before rushing
out to purchase a puppy,
there are many things to consider.
Dog for a Loved One
Don’t! If you are in
a position to purchase or adopt a dog for your parent or grandparent, please
stop and ask them if they really want a pet.
Owning a dog may be the best
solution to loneliness, but if the senior does not want one or does not feel
they are capable of caring for a dog, you will be adding additional burdens and stress into their life.
should always choose their own dog.
Giving the gift of a dog is never a good idea. There will always be bonding issues and the
possibility of hard-feelings on the part of the senior.
BUT, it they are interested in choosing a dog,
by all means, Show them this Page!
Purchasing/Adopting a Dog for Oneself
If you are a senior and are thinking about the addition of a
four legged friend, please consider the following:
- What is the life expectancy of the breed you are
considering? How old will you be when
the dog reaches his senior years? Small
dogs generally live longer than big dogs.
- What are the physical needs of the breed you are
contemplating? Are they a very active
breed requiring several daily walks?
- What are the specific needs of the breed you are
anticipating acquiring such as grooming and training?
- How will you manage a dog under foot, if
ambulation is a problem for you? If you
are in a wheel chair, is the dog you are considering able to move out of the
- Do you have any medical needs that would interfere
with dog ownership? (i.e. oxygen tubing
that puppies love to chew)
- Do you have the resources to pay for vet bills,
grooming and supplies?
- Do you travel?
Will you take the dog with you or hire a pet sitter, ask a friend or
board the pet.
- Many seniors who have owned pets all of their
lives do not adequate consider the difference between adopting a dog at the age
of 35 and 65.
What are Your Options?
Older Dogs Verses Puppies
Older dogs are better than puppies for a retired
They are beyond the crazy puppy
stage and many have already been trained to walk on a leash, obey basic
commands and eliminate in appropriate places.
This is not always the case, so it is important to learn as much about
the background of any dog you are considering as you can.
If you can find an adult dog from a good rescue organization or shelter this is, in our opinion, the best dog option for a senior.
Senior Dogs: A great Choice!
Senior dogs can be a great choice. Many people shy away from a senior dog, but
they deserve just as much love and attention as any younger dog. They are the least active, often the most appreciative and loving dogs, but may have
health problems. Often health concerns
can be as simple as giving the older dog a pill once a day.
Veterinary bills can be an issue, but there
is health insurance for pets that help with these costs. Most of all, senior dogs have so much love to
give and just the act of adopting one knowing you may be his/her last chance
provides rewards greater than words can express.
Large Dogs Verses Small Dogs
- You are less likely to trip over larger dogs, but most adult small
dogs know how to get out from under the foot of a walking human. Puppies are another story.
- Large dogs can be challenging even for young
people to manage. A poorly trained large dog that jumps on people can be a
safety issue to a senior.
- Balance is not
always as good with seniors as it is with younger people and it doesn’t take
much to lose one’s balance and fall.
- Small dogs are easier to pick up and take places including
visits to the veterinarian, grooming salon or on a cross country vacation. Many will fit easily under an airline seat.
- Let’s face it, there is err, uh, less clean up after a small
dog verses a large dog.
Small Portions, Smaller Products, Larger Savings
- Small dogs eat
less and often necessary products that you purchase are cheaper. (Tiny crate verses a Giant crate)
Many seniors, who have had large dogs all of their lives
gravitate to small dogs as they get older. Large dogs require more
exercise, are much stronger, and not as easy to manage. Consider a four-pound dog pulling on a leash as compared to a 114 pound dog.
Not all small dogs are the same so it is important that you
look at each breed to see which one might make the best pet for you. We looked at different scenarios when forming our top list of best dog breeds for seniors.
Here are some of the categories we examined:
Best Dog Breeds For Seniors
Do you want a dog that requires little in the way of grooming?
Our choice in this category of best dog breeds for seniors would be one of the short haired breeds:
More Choices for Short-Haired Small Dog Breeds
Best Dog Breeds for Seniors that are Tiny
Would a really small
dog be easier to handle? Choose a:
Read More about the World's Tiniest Dog Breeds
Low Energy Dogs
Do you want a low
energy dog that you might not need to take on a daily walk? Consider a:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Quiet Small Dogs
Is a quiet dog
important to you? We think the best dog breeds for seniors are:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Find out More about Quiet Dogs
Need a dog that is easily
trained? Our list of best dog breeds for seniors that are the most intelligent and easily trainable include:
Small Watch Dogs
Want a good watch
dog? Our choice of best dog breeds for seniors in this area are:
Are you a Senior with allergies? The best dog breeds for seniors would be the more hypoallergenic breeds:
Read More About Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Read More About Non-Shedding Small Breed Dogs
Small Lap Dogs
Is your heart set on the Best lap dogs?
Top Ten Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
So, here are my top ten of Best Dog Breeds for Seniors, not in any particular order. Use this list along with the recommendations above to find a breed that is right for you.
All breeds listed on this page are purebred. There are many hybrids and mixed breeds that would make perfect pets for a senior. Don't rule any of those great designer dogs out when making your choice.
- Shih Tzu
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Boston Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Yorkshire Terrier
Those that didn’t make the top ten
but still best dog breeds for seniors...
Pet Ownership Statistics
According to the 2015-2016 APPA (American Pet Products Association) National Pet Owners Survey, 65% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 79.7 millions homes
Dogs are still the number one choice for pet ownership with an estimated 54.4 million households owning a dog. Cats are owned by 42.9 million households in the U.S.
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