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Best dogs for older people
The older you get, the more things you’ll find yourself having to do – for example, looking after an elderly relative, visiting a retirement home or going into care. When it comes to caring for older people, you’ll need to know the best dogs for older people.
For older people, having a dog in the family can be a very positive experience. Dogs not only provide companionship, but are excellent at protecting them and alerting them to potential dangers.
There are, however, a few things to bear in mind before you make a choice about which breed of dog is best for you.
1. Does your pet need a home?
If you’re going to get a dog as a pet for an older person, it’s a good idea to make sure that it will be happy living with you. If your pet is only going to be there a few hours a week or so, or for the occasional weekend, it’s likely to be happy to stay with you. However, a home that’s full of other pets, children or older relatives may not be the best place for it.
2. Is there space to accommodate your pet?
If you have a very small home, you’re going to have to make sure that you have enough space to keep your pet. Dogs that are very large may be better suited to large homes. It’s also worth considering whether it’s possible to build an extension or convert a garage or loft. This could give you more living space.
If you’re planning on getting a small dog for an elderly person, they can be easier to care for if they’re kept outside.
3. Is your pet used to being around older people?
Some dogs just aren’t suited to spending time around other older people. Some dogs, such as retrievers, may not have the temperament to be around anyone they don’t know and will become anxious. They may also be less likely to accept strangers.
4. What sort of personality does your pet have?
Dogs that are outgoing and sociable may be happier around older people. Dogs that are shy or reserved, though, will find it harder to settle in. The ideal dog for an older person will be able to adapt to different situations.
5. What is your pet’s health like?
If your pet has health problems, you may need to be especially careful. Older pets are more likely to be more fragile, so you should be careful around stairs, as they’re more likely to be injured in the process. If your pet needs to be medicated or has other health issues, you’ll need to make sure that you get advice from the vet.
Dogs that have lived in the countryside or in an older house will also tend to be more susceptible to health problems. Dogs that have spent most of their life in a kennel are more likely to get the sniffles than if they’ve lived in the house with you.
6. Are you able to look after your pet?
If your pet isn’t going to be able to stay at your home for a long time, you should think carefully about the kind of home that you get it in.
A big problem that elderly people may encounter is getting to a vet to have their pet treated. If your pet lives alone, or has had a long life, it may not be possible for you to look after them.
7. Does your pet cope with your lifestyle?
If you’re working and your pet isn’t going to be able to spend a lot of time in the house, you’ll need to make sure that it’s going to have a peaceful life. If you have noisy neighbours, or if you go on holiday, your pet is going to be very unhappy.
Some pets just aren’t suited to staying at an older person’s home and may not like the idea of being left alone. It’s worth thinking about this before you get your dog – if your pet is going to be a burden on your life, you may find that you’re better off without it.
8. How much are you able to care for your pet?
If you’re going to be a stay-at-home parent, you’re not going to be able to take your pet everywhere with you. If you’re not working, though, you’re going to have more time to spend with your pet. If you’re able to care for your pet, you’re more likely to want to keep it.
9. Do you have time for social activities?
If you’re looking to get a dog for an older person, it’s likely that your pet will spend much of its time sleeping or sleeping, so you’ll have to make sure that you have time to keep up with your social life. If your pet is happy to go to sleep in a bedroom, you’re going to have to make sure that you have enough time to spend with friends.
10. Do you like looking after your pet?
If you’re going to be taking care of an elderly person, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time looking after them, and your pet will