Seniors Guide to Choosing a Pet

Studies have found that having a pet can help to alleviate boredom, reduce stress, and even improve health. Owning a pet can be extremely beneficial to seniors and many senior living communities have thought of ways to incorporate pets in the residents’ every day lives. 

A pet is a loving friend who will always be there for you. The best pets to choose are those that able to give back love and attention. In most cases a dog or cat are perfect choices for a new pet. The choice is largely one of personal preference. Keep in mind that dogs will require outdoor areas while cats can remain indoors but need frequent litter box cleaning.

Advantages of Owning a Pet

Research shows that pet owners may actually live longer and be happier than those who don’t have pets. A dog is a good option for any older individual if you choose wisely. Pets are always happy to see you and are ready to give you their undivided attention when you need it. Petting a dog or cat has a calming effect on you and has been known to lower your blood pressure and relieve stress.

Choosing a Pet

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a pet. The size of the pet is important. A small pet is usually best because it fits in well in small spaces and can be easily carried. Smaller sized dogs will fit on your lap and are easier to walk than large sized pets. Choose a dog based on temperament. Dogs that are smart are easier to train and will listen well to their owners.

Happy dogs make good family pets and get along with children and other animals. When choosing a dog remember that a puppy requires more training and attention than an older animal. If choosing an older dog keep in mind that the dog could have some issues that you won’t be able to easily resolve.

  • Size
  • Temperament
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Training

Many people like the idea of choosing a pet from a shelter or rescue center. If you are considering this option keep a few things in mind. Remember that some pets are in shelters because of bad behavior that couldn’t be resolved. Avoid adopting a pet with problems. You certainly don’t want to deal with a pet with unresolved issues, anger, or other problems.

Tips for Choosing a Pet

  • Don’t purchase a pet for someone else.  It is best to consult with the recipient before gifting a pet.
  • Do some research about various breeds before making a choice
  • Do make a plan for care in case of an emergency – ask a friend or relative to care for your pet should this occur.
  • Observe the pet before you take it home. This gives you a chance to see the real temperament of the animal.
  • If choosing an older pet learn about any past problems.
  • Get your pet the necessary shots and care before bringing him home.
  • Set up an area for your pet to sleep and eat so your pet will be comfortable.
  • Don’t get the first pet you see. Make sure that the pet is a good match before you get him.

Bringing a Pet to a Senior Living Community

Many senior living communities acknowledge that seniors owning a pet is beneficial in many different ways. That is why some senior living communities allow residents to bring their pet along with them. It is encouraged that the resident is still able to care for the pet properly. However, there are senior living communities that have pet services that residents can take advantage of. Some communities also will have a “community” pet that lives at the community but doesn’t belong to one specific resident.

To find a community that allows pets to live with the residents, call (866) 662-0435 to speak to a Care Advisor in your area. They will work with you to find a community that welcomes pets and offers the level of care you or your loved one requires. Our Care Advisors are a free service to families that are looking for senior care and work with thousands of senior living communities across the country.