December 20, 2010

Cat and dog resting together on bedAre you retired and considering adopting a pet? Maybe you’re an adult child helping mom or dad pick a new furry friend? Pets can be a wonderful addition to a senior’s daily routine. Pets – especially older animals – can provide seniors with improved health, mood and activity. Studies show that having a cat or dog can even lower blood pressure!

When considering a pet, think about your daily life. You probably don’t want a kitten or puppy. While young animals are certainly cute and can be a lot of fun, they are also a lot of work. Both older cats and dogs provide just as much love as their younger counterparts – but require much less work.

According to the American Humane Association, cats are especially great for seniors:

  • Unlike dogs, cats are happy staying indoors all the time.
  • Most adult cats require only 20 to 30 minutes of playtime per day, and interactive play does not require the owner to be mobile.
  • Cats are also very content to spend most of their time sleeping on their owner’s lap or bed.

Of course, this isn’t to say older dogs can’t make great companions! There are many programs that pair senior dogs with older owners.

The American Kennel Club has some tips and some important facts to consider. First, consider your activity level and favorite activities. You also need to strongly evaluate your financial fitness. Older pets may require more medical care than a puppy. Also, make sure you choose the right breed of dog. All dogs have different temperaments and you don’t want a hyperactive dog that barks incessantly if you live in an apartment.

Like cats, dogs can easily keep you active. They provide you with a routine and encourage exercise because dogs need walked. Consider a small breed, or “toy” dog as they require less physical activity and make great lap pets!

Remember the rules of your community. Some places, like Bethany Village, have limits on how many pets you may own at one time. Your senior living counselor will provide you with all the information you need to make the right pet decision for your living arrangement.
 

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