Dogs make wonderful companions for people of all ages – and while you may never be too old to be a dog lover, you may find that adopting a dog later in life is much different than adopting a dog in your younger years. Chances are that your lifestyle has changed a great deal, and so have your priorities. For those approaching (or beyond) retirement age, we put together a list of things to consider when adopting a dog:
- Activity level – All dogs need some level of regular exercise, but exercise needs and energy levels vary greatly from breed to breed and even from dog to dog. It is important to consider how much physical activity your new dog will require. If you aren’t as active as you once were, or find that you don’t have the energy to go for long walks each day, then you’ll want to consider a lower-energy dog, like a Bulldog or Basset Hound.
- Size – Smaller dogs are easier to handle and can be more manageable for an older Guardian. Small dogs that are popular among senior Guardians include the Bichon Frise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pomeranian, and Shih Tzu.
- Age – An older dog is usually calmer than a young, hyper puppy. Older dogs make great companions because they’ve already had years of practice! Adopting a senior dog is also a great kindness, because they are less likely to find homes than their younger counterparts. Check out this article about why you should adopt a senior pet.
There are so many wonderful reasons to adopt a companion dog as we get older. Here are a few of the significant benefits of adopting in later years:
- Physical and mental benefits: Companion animals have been proven to improve our physical and mental health. Not only can owning a pet give us immeasurable joy, but it can actually lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and reduce depression. Pets have undeniable healing powers and can lift the spirits of everyone around them.
- You gotta have friends: Living alone or as an empty-nester can get lonely! Having the company of a lovable cat or dog can make all the difference in the world when friends and family are far away.
- Provide structure and purpose: Having another living being to care for can provide routine and purpose to an otherwise unstructured day. Pets have incredible biological clocks, making them the perfect alarm clock, afternoon TV-watching buddy, and dinnertime companion. Having a set schedule can be motivating and uplifting, especially for an older person who is home for most of the day.
- Perfect environment: Unless we’re talking about a rambunctious puppy or a hyper-active dog, most pets prefer a quiet living space. Adult and senior dogs especially appreciate the devotion and attention of a senior Guardian. Retired Guardians are more likely to have more time to spend with their new pet, and most pets loving nothing more than to be considered the “king” or “queen” of the house.