Seniors and Pets


This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue


By Noah Y. Rue

How to Find the Perfect Canine Companion for Seniors

Time waits for no one. Eventually, the weight that is the burden of everyday challenges begins to feel much heavier than it did in years past. We first see this happen to our grandparents. Then we see and experience it as our parents go through the process. Eventually, we may find ourselves in the very same situation. Almost everything feels a little bit harder once reaching “a certain age.” Owning a dog is no exception. They can offer pet therapy, which has shown to lengthen life expectancy, lower blood pressure and increase serotonin levels. The health and emotional benefits of having a canine companion should have seniors thinking about their next furry friend but may enlist your help in finding the right match. There are many factors that come into play when helping to select the right four-legged friend when in their golden years.

Do the Work

Research is key. This is likely the number one action to do before committing to a dog. First, assess the environment. Does the prospective owner live in an apartment or home? Do they live in the country or in town? Are there other people or other animals living on the premises? Is the prospective owner likely to take the dog on walks? Is the owner likely to be away from the house for long periods of time? Are they perhaps a frequent traveler? All are factors to consider when starting down the path to dog selection.

Size Matters

Once they have a good grasp on what the environment is, they can begin to narrow your focus to breeds that fit that temperament. Smaller hound breeds, such as beagles and basset hounds are well known for their calm temperaments and their satisfaction in a sedentary lifestyle. This could be a great fit for a senior owner. Hounds are also well known for their howl, which is not always appreciated by apartment neighbors who share a wall with the owner.

Spaniels of all breeds are small to medium size, are calm by nature, and immeasurably sweet. Most senior dog owners would live a happy and satisfying life with a cocker, springer, or any other breed of spaniel. Sometimes, a spaniel’s happy go lucky disposition can lead them to be overzealous in getting their needs met by all humans, not just their owner. If the owner is living in a home that gets frequent visitors from people with dog allergies or are not a fan of dogs, a spaniel may make a senior’s life harder, not easier.

Dog Hunt

A quick Google search will show you breeders and clubs in their area for the breeds they are interested in. If the heart draws them towards a puppy, heed caution. Remember that the first year of a dog’s life is often the most demanding. Take extra time when making the decision and explore alternative options.

Often, when someone needs to rehome a dog, they enlist the help of the breeder they initially received the dog from. Breeders can be an invaluable resource when looking for adult dogs – they wouldn’t want to end up with a dog that bites or attacks. If a dog bites someone it can lead to costly medical bills and possible lawsuit. Another valuable option is developing a positive relationship with employees at local humane societies and animal shelters. Often, those organizations will take information from them, both what they are looking for and how to get ahold of them. When a dog passes through their doors that fits their description of what they are looking for, expect to be the first to be notified.

With this amount of research in place, go forth on your search. Have confidence and enjoy the process. When they have done a thorough and honest assessment of the breed that suits themselves and their environment, you can rest assured that the senior in your life will have a satisfying and rewarding canine partnership!

Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.