Choosing the Right Dog as a Senior
Are your kids grown up and out of the house? Are you finally taking a breather from soccer games, kid birthday parties, and endless errands for another “have-to-have” item? We’re guessing the empty nester feeling is probably a little bittersweet. It’s a relief knowing that you’ve raised independent adults, but it also might feel a little lonely in a house with fewer people. Which means… this may be the perfect time to consider getting another dog. You probably had your first pup because your kids begged endlessly, and, chances are, they picked out your pet (with your blessing, of course). But this time around, you actually have time to consider the right pet for you (and your loved ones).
You probably know by now that dogs can provide many benefits, like improved physical and emotional health. Pet ownership has been proven to lower blood pressure and increase serotonin levels. Dogs are loyal companions and a source of endless unconditional love, not to mention a great way to bond with new friends and grandkids. It’s a big decision, but one you most surely will not regret. So, as you’re weighing the pros and cons of adding a dog to your household, consider a few of our favorite tips:
- Consider adopting an older pet. Puppies are adorable, but there are lots of shelter pets entering the adult stage of their lives that are looking for a loving home. These pets are often already house broken (no getting up in the middle of the night for a potty break), and probably over the teething phase, which means your nice shoes and furniture are safe!
- Research the breed you are considering. With so many breeds of dogs, it’s important to do your research. A high-energy herding breed is probably not the best fit for someone looking to relax with their pet on the couch most of the day. Consider breeds like Greyhounds and Irish Wolfhounds, who, despite their size, are mellow and calm. Other calmer breeds include Cavalier King Charles, Miniature Pinschers, and Havanese. Call your local animal shelter or humane society if you have a breed in mind, or find a breed-centric rescue in your area to help find the perfect fit.
- Products that provide mental stimulation will tire your pup out. Going for walks isn’t the only way to wear your pet out. Nowadays, there are so many pet products on the market that engage your dog’s mind, which, in our opinion, is a better way to tire your dog. Products like the iFetch require the mental capacity for your dog to understand that dropping the ball into the top of the toy will initiate the game. If they get the hang of it, they can play fetch to their heart’s content – all on their own. It also means that you don’t need to walk them when it’s cold and rainy outside – bonus! Nina Ottosson puzzle games and Kong interactive toys are also good options for stimulating the mind of your pooch, which leads to a tired and happy dog.
- Consider pet sitting services when you have to travel. You may be nervous about getting a dog if you have travel plans in the future. After all, you’re probably nearing retirement, or already retired, and ready to enjoy life. Rest assured there are many pet care services available, from boarding with a local company, hiring a pet-sitting service to come to your house (and even stay the night), or using the Rover app to find a local pet sitter to take your dog into their home. The beauty of a service like Rover is that you can find a consistent pet sitter who will come to love your dog almost as much as you do. Then, you can enjoy your trips without feeling guilty about leaving your pup.
We wish you the best of luck with your search, and hope you find the perfect pup with which to continue life’s journey.