How To Choose A Dog For An Elderly Person
By: Paul P. Duxbury
Dogs have been making great companions for centuries now. They are loved by all ages. Everyone has their own preference as to what dog best suits their lifestyle. When choosing a dog, this is an important aspect to consider, especially for the elderly. Having a four legged friend can be comforting and can bring much joy to an elderly person. Studies have proven that having a dog around, improves the overall wellbeing of seniors. They can have someone to share their love with. Even nursing homes have grabbed onto the idea of having animals visiting or even living in the same venue.
What are the best picks for the elderly though? The two most important areas to consider are the size and temperament of the canine. Smaller dogs tend to be less maintenance and easier to handle than larger ones. Smaller dogs are also beneficial for the elderly because they make great lap dogs. Below are some top choices of breeds for seniors.
Schnauzer – These dogs enjoy being around people. They crave the companionship given by humans. There are two sizes: the miniature and standard size. Either one will do. Schnauzers can be protective of its family and they have a desire to please. Maintenance of the dog consists of exercising daily. A brief walk would be sufficient. Also consistent grooming is required.
Pug – These dogs are good picks because of their size. They are small dogs, and yet they have big hearts. They are generally very playful dogs. Outgoing by nature, they thrive off of attention and affection from its owners. Even though they crave a lot of attention, they do not just take; they give a lot out too. These dogs are best fitted for someone who has plenty of time on their hands. They are not always high energized. They do have down time in which they like to snuggle up on a warm lap.
Cocker Spaniel – The cocker is a rather popular pick among dog lovers. They are not high strung or outgoing by nature. Because of their patience and docile personality, they make great picks for seniors. They do not need a lot of exercise either. Just a brief walk will do. They are loyal to their owners. Because of their curly hair, regular grooming is a good idea.
Chihuahua – These dogs may be tiny, but they have a loud bark. They tend to take to one owner rather than several family members. For seniors living alone, they are great for warning of people approaching. Despite their size, they are very protective of their owners. They generally weigh less than 5 lbs. and are 6-9 inches in height.
Shih tzu – These dogs live for human companionship. They are friendly and gentle dogs. This breed is very alert to what is going on around him.
Yorkshire Terrier – This dog makes another great lap dog. He enjoys quietness by lounging around. Do not be fooled by his lounging, he does have quite a bit of vigor.
Scottish Terrier – By the name, it is obvious that Scotties derived from Scotland. They are loyal to their family. They are a working dog that weighs between 15-20 lbs. Their stature reflects their intelligence. They can be protective as well.
Toy Poodle – This dog loves to be doted over and enjoys the company of people over other dogs. Poodles love attention and do not mind being treated like a king. If a senior is looking for a companion to dot over, this is the pick for them.
Pomeranian – This dog originated in Pomerania, Germany. It has been compared to a little fuzzy bear. Pomeranians tend to be perky and can bring a smile to any face. They make great companions.
Boston Terrier – Boston Terriers are considered to be American breed dogs. They are small in size and because of their protective nature, seniors will feel secure having one of these around. Despite their protective instinct, they are also friendly and mellow.
These are just a few breeds that an elderly person might want hanging around. Smaller dogs with mild temperaments toward their owners tend to be preferred picks. Keep in mind, there is always an exception to any breed. It is best to talk to others who are familiar with a particular breed. It is also best to know the restrictions of the senior before choosing the right dog.