Having a pet can do a lot to improve the quality of life for many people, but most assuredly for seniors. Hey, everyone wants someone to love. However, some pets are better than others when it comes to the elderly. And believe me when I say that the wrong pet can turn their lives into a chaotic mess!
Choose a Dog
Dogs are dandy, but puppies aren’t for everyone
When my elderly mother told me she wanted a puppy, I didn’t think twice about it. Our family had dogs around all of the time. She got the pup, a cute little Papillon. Well, mom found out how difficult it was for an older person to raise and train a puppy without the rest of the family there to pitch in. Puppies don’t housebreak themselves. They can be destructive. And they can be a real drain on your energy.
For all of those reasons, my mom decided to give the pup to a family she knew would love and appreciate it. Over the next few years, she repeated this a couple more times. Got a puppy, gave it away. Got another puppy and kept it for a while – even took it with her to an assisted living facility. That wasn’t as easy as it was at her own home because she couldn’t just open the back door to let the dog out in the yard. She had to get dressed and take the dog outside for a walk many times a day. She tired of that pretty quickly and my family inherited the dog.
Adopt an older dog
Seniors looking for a dog might want to adopt an older dog that has already mastered basic training. PawNation.com recommends the following breeds for older folks:
- French Bulldog
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Now, dogs are fine for some people, like those who appreciate the exercise and are healthy enough to do it. However, there are other pets that are great for providing seniors with the companionship they need.
Consider a kitty
Cats are an excellent idea, according to the folks at the Pittwater Animal Hospital. They note that cats with more sedate natures, such as Ragdolls and Persians, can be quite content living in a house or small apartment. Most cats take readily to litter pans. And, because of their playful nature, cats can be tons of fun.
Wing it with a bird
Some older folks are for the birds – literally! Birds can make wonderful pets. Small parrots, Cockatiels and Parakeets can even be taught to speak. Some birds can get pretty loud though, so it’s best to consult an expert before purchasing one. A specialty bird store will probably have the best advice.
Ready for a rodent?
Mice and rats can make wonderful pets. Some of your friends might think you’re crazy though. Pet rats are very intelligent and affectionate. They have a relatively short life span, which is about two years. One just has to remember to keep the cages clean as they can smell pretty bad if unattended. Also, check to see if you’re allergic to rats, as many people are.
Something fishy going on
Fish are fun to look at, but don’t really give much back. The same goes for snakes and lizards. The exception is the Blue-Tongued Skink, one of the few species of reptiles – if not the only one – that recognizes its owner and is truly glad to have human company. And that blue tongue is quite cute and a real conversation starter!
Are you, or do you know, a senior with a pet? Or, are you thinking of getting a new pet? Tell us about your favorites!