There is no disputing that animals typically have a positive impact on their owners’ lives, especially when the owners are older adults. Pets can help seniors live longer, healthier and happier lives. Owning a pet encourages seniors to stay active and makes for great companionship. Pet therapy for the elderly is a growing trend that has proven very effective. There is no doubt that senior citizens can benefit from owning a pet. However, what type of pet is best? Here are some of the pros and cons of pets that are good for seniors.
Dogs: Dogs are the most popular choice of pets amongst senior citizens. However, choosing the right kind of dog is important. Sometimes smaller dogs are better for seniors because they require less energy and tend to be more protective of their owners. A smaller dog can also be easier to leave in the care of a friend or relative or even take with you on a trip. Adult dogs also tend to be better than puppies for elderly people. Adult dogs are usually potty trained and tend to do less damage, but the downside is they will not live as long. Breeds of dogs to avoid for seniors are Dalmatians and Jack Russell terriers.
Cats: In some ways cats can be a better choice for seniors than a dog. Cats tend to adjust to a wider variety of lifestyles. For an indoor cat, a senior will need to be prepare to change the litter box often. Just as with dogs, adult cats are typically better than kittens. Short haired cats tend to be better for seniors as they require less grooming and shed less.
Birds: Some dog and cat lovers may argue that you cannot get as close to a bird, but devoted bird owners would disagree. Some birds are more adaptable for older owners. Cockatiels are generally good birds for senior citizens as they can be taught to whistle and say a few words. Many seniors enjoy trying to teach their bird new things. Parrots can also make great pets as they can also be taught to talk. If you get a parrot, make sure to provide for your pet when you are gone, as parrots tend live long lives.
Turtles or Goldfish: These require little to no supervision and very little care, but the little interaction with these pets does not provide the health benefits that other pets can. However, these might be great pets for seniors who need something to care for but cannot put much effort into the care of a larger animal.