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Which dog breeds for an elderly person? How to choose?

Owning a dog is very important for seniors, whether they are alone or not, in the city or in the country, and whether they live in a house with a garden or in an apartment. Some breeds of dogs are particularly suited to the elderly, both in terms of character and needs. Let's see how to choose the ideal companion and what are the criteria of choice that count the most.

Why does the presence of a dog improve the daily life of seniors?


The dog is a pet capable of improving the daily life of its owner. He is not stingy with affection, likes to share his games and his walks with the members of the family, is also protective and perhaps even more so when his master is alone or fragile. The dog is able to decipher the feelings of a person just by the expressions of his face. It is therefore the ideal companion for elderly people who suffer from loneliness.

It is scientifically proven that having a dog with whom one shares daily outings helps preserve one's cardiovascular system, physical condition and cognitive faculties. In addition, the fact that the senior feels responsible for his little four-legged friend is very important because it gives a purpose to each of his days. Regaining this sense of duty is fundamental to regain a taste for life when the children have long since left the nest, when one no longer has any professional responsibilities and when one lives alone.

Every day, the elderly person must brush and feed their dog, take it out, talk to it, and pet it. Regularly, she must also go to the veterinarian so that the animal benefits from surveillance and follow-up to ensure its good health. All these tasks are very important.

Finally, by his presence, the dog reassures the person who lives alone, especially when his house is a little isolated.

Having a dog: a whim or a real desire?


Before deciding on a particular breed of dog, the senior citizen should take the time to think about the following points:
  • The cost in terms of veterinary care, food, equipment (basket, kennel, collar, leash, toys, bowls, brush and comb, etc.).
  • Availability: Some seniors are still very active. They have a very busy schedule and are only home in the evenings.
  • Care solutions in case of need (vacations, hospitalization).
Motivation: you have to be sure that you will want to take care of your dog in the long term.
Taking in a dog is not a trivial act and is not done on a whim that you will regret after a month or two. It is therefore important to make sure that you really want it and that you are able to give it the care and attention it needs.

How to choose the ideal dog for an elderly person?


The criteria for choosing a dog breed are defined according to the possibilities of the owner.

Unless the senior citizen is a great sportsman and still jogs or cycles every day, or simply goes for long walks in nature, it is better to avoid taking in a hunting dog or a working dog. These animals need to exercise every day. Living with an owner who is very sedentary or who cannot accompany his dog on walks for health reasons may not be suitable for the animal. A pet dog is therefore preferable and represents the ideal pet for an elderly person.

In the vast majority of cases, we recommend :
  • A dog that is already trained: a well-trained adult animal requires less energy than a puppy that has everything to learn.
  • A dog of a reasonable size, as a large dog can be unsuitable for the physical abilities of some seniors, especially if it constantly pulls on its leash. Let's not forget that large breed dogs or giants can weigh up to 80 kg, sometimes more, and are endowed with an incredible strength.
  • A breed reputed for its docility and its phlegm: it is however necessary to take into account that a dog is a unique being, and that within the same breed, certain canines can be much less calm than others. They are therefore less suited to share the daily life of a relatively sedentary or tired elderly person.
Finally, the dog you choose should be able to play alone and not disturb the restful moments that are essential to its owner.

Dog breeds suitable for seniors


Far from being THE list to follow to the letter - because let's remember that the choice of the animal depends on the physical capacities of the master - here are some dog breeds widely appreciated by seniors.
  • The Maltese : this adorable little dog is very intelligent and calm. Gentle, it is very affectionate and likes to show its great attachment to its master. It is better not to be away all day because it hates solitude.
  • The Poodle: intelligent and curious, this lively dog is perfectly suited to an active senior who does not hesitate to share daily walks with his little companion.
  • The Continental Toy Spaniel: hyper active when young, this faithful dog that follows its master everywhere becomes calmer and calmer over the years to the point where it loves to share the sofa sessions. It is therefore best to choose a dog that is at least 5 years old.
  • The Skye terrier: lively, he needs his little daily outings so that he can exercise. It is better to have a garden if you do not want to accompany him on every walk. But it is a dog which gives a lot of affection to its master to whom it is very attached. Intelligent, it is extremely easy to educate.
  • The dwarf Spitz or Loulou de Poméranie: although quite active by nature, it is very obedient. He likes the countryside as well as the city. Affectionate, he is very attached to his master.
  • The West Highland White Terrier: affectionate and independent, he likes to be surrounded. It is however a small active dog with a lively and mischievous character who loves to play. He has an extraordinary capacity of adaptation to his new place of life and to his new owner. He likes to live in a house or an apartment.
Other breeds are well adapted to the elderly because of their small size such as the Pug, the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu and the French Bulldog for example. But these are brachycephalic dogs. They are prone to many diseases because of the various manipulations and crossbreeding tending to exaggerate their physical characteristics (large head, crushed nose, etc.). They need a lot of veterinary care. In order not to encourage the sale of brachycephalic dogs, it is preferable to sound the alarm and to turn to other dog breeds that do not suffer from this syndrome.