Pets for Seniors: Choosing the Right Dog

pets for seniors

On Monday, we opened our series on pets for seniors, outlining some great benefits of having them in your home.

As we mentioned, pets can be a wonderful addition to any home, providing a sense of companionship, responsibility, and renewed sense of value in you or your aging loved ones life.

Now that you have a better understanding of what pets can do for you, we are going to help you maximize those benefits by showing you how to go about choosing the right pet for you and your lifestyle. Take a look below:


Dogs are a man’s best friend, as the saying goes, so it only seems fair that we start off with them.

Choosing a low-maintenance dog.

Dogs come in all shapes and size. For an aging loved one, it is recommended that they choose a low-maintenance dog that will require less care, both physically and mentally. Here are a few things to look for:

Exercise. Some dogs require a considerable amount of exercise while others not so much. As such, it is important to match the dog with your physical strength. Those who already have difficulty walking or poor muscle strength/weak bones should avoid getting dogs who require long walks, as it could put too much strain on their body.

The right size. Size is also very important. Larger dogs (e.g. German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers) who require a lot of exercise or are hyper can cause injury, either due to pulling of their owner or jumping on them for affection, while smaller dogs (Maltese, Boston Terrier) may be easier to handle because they require smaller spaces, shorter walks, and can be held.

The right age. Age is another important consideration. Caring for a puppy or younger dog does require more of the owner in regards to training and exercise, while older dogs have typically been trained and have calmed down over the years. If your aging loved one wishes to have a younger dog, it is best to get them professionally trained in order to avoid any risks of being overwhelmed by the task.

The right behavior. Behavior is also another important thing to consider when choosing a dog. Some breeds require more attention than others, such as the Poodle, which may put a lot of stress on a senior who isn’t use to caring for animals. You may consider getting a dog who can be left alone, if necessary, and requires only a moderate amount of attention, such as a Cocker Spaniel.

Grooming needs. Though less of a concern, grooming habits may also be another factor when choosing a dog. If you wish to cut down on grooming costs, consider getting a shorthaired breed who won’t shed around the house.

On Friday, we’ll talk about some other great pets to choose from, as well as a few more considerations to help you or your aging loved one really enjoy their time with their pet. In the meantime, if you have any questions, let us know by connecting with us on Twitter!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

photo credit: erban via photopin cc

“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit”