There’s no age restriction on puppy parenthood. But some companion pets are better than others. For seniors in their golden years, you may want to think about low maintenance pets. This can mean anything from little to no shedding, gentler temperament, or puppies who don’t bark a lot.
But wait! It gets better. You know the flush of joy you get when you look at or pet a puppy or dog? That’s serotonin, a mood booster. Not only can pets lift your spirits, but they can also help improve your health. Just 15 minutes of bonding with your pet can help lower blood pressure, encourage exercise and socialization, and lower stress levels as well.
How to Find the Best Pet for You
There are a variety of petfinder services, but it’s a good idea to know what pet is best for your needs. Below are some of the best dog breeds for seniors and retirees.
4 Low Maintenance Pets That Like to Cuddle
1. Bichon Frise
A playful, fun nature with a shiny, soft-curl coat which means low to no shedding.
2. Golden Cavalier
A people-loving disposition mixed with the “teddy bear” look and a gentler temperament. Who doesn’t want to cuddle with this adorable beauty?
Known for its gentle nature, this pup loves to cuddle. However, they do have a lot of energy, so if you want to be more active, this breed will get you moving!
4. Mini Goldendoodle
Looking for an engaging, family-friendly dog who won’t take up too much space on the couch? Then this pup might be the perfect match for you.
These are some great pups to get you started on independent puppy parenthood. And while these pups on are their own are perfect companion pets for your golden years, specialty crossbreeds offer a ‘hybrid vigor.’
What is ‘Hybrid Vigor’?
Otherwise known as heterosis, in specialty crossbreeds, helps to minimize genetic risk. It’s the best traits of each breed for sound health and little to no shedding. In other words, low maintenance. Fewer grooming appointments. Fewer vet visits outside regular check ups for immunizations, de-wormings, and other medications or injections to keep your pet healthy. Most of these medications happen in one visit. Once a year.
How to Find the Right Pet for You
At Golden Cavaliers, we often ask our prospective buyers to fill out an interview questionnaire. We do this for one reason. It’s to ensure puppy and family are a good fit. Below are just a few questions to consider when thinking about puppy or pet parenthood.
- Have you had a pet before?
- Are you set in your ways?
- Will it be difficult to walk your dog regularly or do you have a doggy door so they can let themselves out? Or do you have help – a dog walker?
- Would a therapeutic or emotional support animal be beneficial?
- Would you rather purchase a pup from a reputable breeder or rescue one from a shelter? Whatever you choose, it should be the best for you.
- What age is best? Would you consider an older puppy (5+ months) or do you prefer an older dog (older than 1 year?)
- Are finances an issue?
- Is there a backup plan in place for the pet? Do you have someone who could step in to take care of your pet, if you’re unable to do so?
These questions aren’t set in stone. They’re meant only to help you make the best decision for wherever you may be in your life right now. Still on the fence? Let’s dig under it and see where else you might enjoy connecting with pets without having your own.
Ways to Play with Pets Outside of Ownership
For some, having their own pet just isn’t an option for various reasons. But you can still get the benefits of pet ownership without the responsibility.
- Consider attending a pet therapy event or asking your facility to host one. It’s simply a place to gather where you can pet and play with animals. If you don’t live in assisted living and are still at home, there are organizations which will introduce pet therapy to you directly with volunteers all over the world. Additional benefits of pet therapy include improved appetite, brain stimulation, and increased socialization.
- If you’re still quite active and mobile, you may consider signing up for a housesitting and petsitting organization. Think of it as a free place to stay when you travel with the added benefit of caring for someone’s pet while they’re away.
- Want to get more active in your community or get more exercise? Consider offering your own dogwalking or dog boarding services through such sites as Rover.com. Free is good. But a little extra income is better.
Buyer Beware – The Dangers of Pet Ownership
While there are a variety of benefits to pet ownership in your golden years, there are some things to be aware of such as the risk for a fall. After all, who hasn’t gotten a pet underfoot, at some point in their pet parenthood. This is especially true in the case of a puppy as they’re still navigating their surroundings and learning how to stay out of our way. We don’t want to trip on them and they don’t want to be stepped on. It’s a win-win for everyone with some extra patience in our movements.
Other factors include findings which suggest that strong social network along with your pet can contain happiness levels. But on the flip side, if it’s just you and your pet, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
To alleviate potential problems, you may want to follow these tips and tricks to help you make an informed decision.
- Create a pros and cons list
- Is there someone who might consider co-caring for your pet? This feeds not only into the backup plan, but also ensures you consider your mobility for picking up after your pet as well as its activity level versus your activity level.
- Are you able to care for both yourself and your pet? In some cases, the answer may be ‘no.’ If so, work with a family member or your vet, to find a more suitable home for your pet.
When it comes to puppy love, dog envy, and pet ownership, our first thoughts usually focus on children and families. But there is one group which could benefit as much or more by the cuddly, unconditional love of a pet. Seniors. Those in their golden years. Whatever moniker you fall under, your wisdom guides you. Our suggestion for the best companion pets for your golden years can include not only Bichon Frise, but also Cava-poo-chon (cavalier x toy poodle x bichon). Not only Golden Cavalier, but also Golden Cavadoodles (golden retriever x cavalier x toy poodles).
Pets offer us joy, happiness, make us feel needed giving us a greater sense of purpose, and love. Puppy parenthood encourages socialization, lowers stress, and mental sharpness during what can be a lonely time of life. Whether you find your pet through a petsitting program, a pet therapy program, a breeder, or a shelter, you’re sure to find your spirits lifted and your quality of life improved. All it takes is just a little bit of puppy love.
1 thought on “How to Choose the Best Companion Pet for Your Golden Years”
Thanks for this informative article. Lots to consider.