Companion Pets For Seniors

Getting older can be a lonely journey at times. Without a spouse or nearby children or grandchildren, you may experience feelings of isolation. One solution to ease the loneliness is the caring of a pet. Companion animals provide unconditional friendship and purpose to lives.

Owning a pet comes with great responsibility. They need to be walked (if a dog), they need to be fed and groomed. It’s important to choose a pet that is compatible and fits in with your energy level. Certain pets are more suited to a smaller living environment. They can be ideal if you like a challenge and want to spend a lot of time with them. Review your budget to ensure you can afford to pay for grooming, veterinary visits, supplies, or pet sitting when you’re traveling.

Pet ownership has significant benefits for your mental, physical, and emotional health so let’s have a look at the best suited pet for your lifestyle.


Dogs For Seniors

Dogs come in many sizes and breeds. Larger dogs may be harder to handle physically and be more active. Small dogs seem to be the best preference for seniors such as the Pug, Cocker Spaniel or Shih Tzu. A senior dog is a great choice as they are already trained, less active and demanding than a puppy. Their life expectancy would also be less than a puppy.

  • Pug
    • Adaptable
    • Eager to please, mischievous
    • Affectionate and playful
    • Less exercise required
    • Shed, especially in warmer climates
  • Cocker Spaniel
    • About 20 pounds
    • Even temperament
    • Happy and affectionate
    • Loyal and energetic
    • Require grooming
  • Boston Terrier
    • Manageable size
    • Friendly and playful
    • Easy to groom
    • Love spending time with owners (on couch, in bed)
  • Shih Tzu
    • Tendency to bark
    • Friendly and playful
    • Small for apartment living
    • Daily walks and indoor playtime
    • Jealthy and long-lived
    • Likes sitting on owner’s lap
    • Grooming required
  • Pomeranian
    • Intelligent people-pleaser
    • Small and lightweigh
    • Don’t require a lot of exercise
    • Grooming required
    • A bit noisy
  • Yorkshire Terrier
    • Long hair requires grooming
    • Small and adaptable
    • Intelligent, loyal, and lively
    • Daily walks
    • Enjoy daily interaction with owner
    • Can get a bit bossy

Cats For Seniors

Cats are wonderful companions if you don’t have the strength or energy to care for a dog. Short-haired cats are typically independent, clean themselves, and are quieter than a dog. Long-haired cats will require brushing and grooming and will shed hair. Each cat has it’s own unique personality including how vocal they may be.

Once your cat is raised indoors, they will resist being taken outside. You never have to worry about taking them outdoors for stimulation. They take care of most of their own personal hygiene and have fewer health issues than dogs. Depending on their personality some like to cuddle, others like to sleep at the foot of the bed. Some cats are content with just hanging out in the same room. You can play with your cat using a small toy or providing cat climbing trees which are quite enjoyable to watch.

Cats require a good diet, litter box, toys and human companionship. Expenses may include the adoption costs, spaying or neutering and vaccinations.


Birds For Seniors

Birds are great pets for older adults. They require little hands-on care except for feeding, watering and periodic cage cleaning.

Canaries are colorful birds singing soft songs and are a joy to watch. They are small and easy to care for and don’t require a lot of attention. They prefer to be alone in their cage without other birds.

Zebra finches, like the canary are fun to watch and listen to their melodic singing. They are social birds so they do prefer a companion or two. They prefer a large flight cage as they are very active even though they prefer to stay inside the cage. 

Budgies are small, colorful birds that require more human interaction than canaries or finches, preferably for at least an hour per day. They are vocal and can learn to talk and they don’t scream like the parrot species. Budgies require less space but they do enjoy some out-of-cage playtime.

Geckos For Seniors

Leopard geckos make great pets for people looking for low maintenance. They are small, quiet and easy to take care of. They have a calm demeanor and they don’t whip their tail around like other lizards. They don’t have sharp claws that dig into hands and they tend not to bite.

Geckos are not expensive to purchase and are widely available. Their glass environment may be confusing to them so they may bump into it from time to time. Geckos are also nocturnal so they may hide most of the day. Once you have set up their environment which includes lighting and accessories, they are good to enjoy. They do well with a 20 gallon tank. Feed them mealworms, waxforms and crickets. You can also handle them gently to enjoy them up close.


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