Choose the right pet for retirement and you just might live longer. You certainly will live happier. And happy people live longer lives. It’s a fact. Pets become part of the family, they give you a reason for wanting to get up in the morning, and they give you that unconditional love that we seem to thrive on.
But what is the best kind of pet for retirement for you? Here are some considerations.
Permission. Many gated communities, home owners associations, and condo associations have pet policies. I suggest that you check on the pet policies of where you live or where you are planning on living. Typical restrictions are size (normally by weight), breeds prohibitions, and number of pets. Towns may have restrictions on noise, dog walking and clean up, and how and when you can leave a dog outside or on a balcony. Want to just let your dog out in the back yard to pee? Most gated communities will not permit fences and most will not let you let your cat out at night.
Size. Small dogs are easy to transport in a lane carrier for example, or easy to carry around while shopping. Smaller dogs eat less, shed less, and yes, poop less. Size is not an indication of energy level however, be careful
Age. Choosing an adult dog is wise decision. You are more certain of temperament and health history. You also skip that high energy, “I need all your attention’ puppy periods. With a puppy, however, you have the opportunity to groom your dog’s attitude. But make no mistake, raising a puppy through to maturity take a lot of energy. I prefer kittens to full grown cats unless you know the temperament of the cat you are adopting. If you want a lap cat, your chances of indoctrinating one to you lap and getting it to love you and your lap is better with a kitten.
Companionship. Some dogs are better at being a companion, some better at boosting mobility and bringing life to your home. Ideally you want both. I would stay away from the hyper active breed like Jack Russel unless you are prepared to exercise and entertain your dog constantly. An aloof cat can still be a companion, but a dog or cat that follows you around wanting nothing but to please you is a real morale booster. Cats can conform to almost any environment, dogs less so.
Physical Needs. What will your pet ret require – Grooming? Excercise? Food? What about their health needs?
Expense. Consider the cost of your pet. Some pure bred animals have a reputation for hip or skin problems, for example.
Do you like to travel? Where will you pet go? With you or to friends or a boarding kennel? Consider an animal’s portability when you decide on what pet to get. When you do get the pet, travel with it from the time you get it, starting with short trips in the car. Training a pet early on to be comfortable and secure in a carrier is a good idea.
Shed or no Shed. Some breeds will always be leaving hair on your furniture, while some, like pugs, Boston terries, Chihuahuas and Dachshunds shed very little – and don’t need to be trimmed. Others, like poodles, don’t shed but need monthly grooming.
There is a great site put together by Janice Jones – A Small Dog Place – here are her suggestions for theTop Ten Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
So, here are Janice’s top ten of Best Dog Breeds for Seniors, not in any particular order. Use this list along with the recommendations from her site to find a breed that is right for you. All breeds listed on this page are purebred. There are many hybrids and mixed breeds that would make perfect pets for a senior. Don’t rule any of those great designer dogs out when making your choice.
- Shih Tzu
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Boston Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Yorkshire Terrier