Having a dog in the home can boost your senior loved one’s mood and activity level. A dog may also ward off intruders. The animal’s love can dispel loneliness, anxiety, depression, and stress. Even when another person performs pet care, a senior can reap these benefits. Before adopting a dog, families should consider their loved ones’ health conditions to see if pet ownership is a viable option.
Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Certain pedigrees are better for seniors due to their small size, minimal care requirements, and a need for regular company. Here are seven breeds that have these qualities.
1. Bichon Frise
This happy-go-lucky, fluffy white breed is very obedient and adores people. They’re also friendly toward other animals and children. A bichon will gladly accompany your loved one wherever he or she goes. They have a curious nature and thrive on fun and excitement.
Bichons are easy to train, since they strive to please their owners. They especially love to cuddle. They’re ideal for seniors who don’t leave home for long periods. If bichons feel abandoned, they display anxious behaviors such as chewing, whining, and barking.
Bichons don’t require much exercise—just a few daily walks and a little playtime. Their coats are hypoallergenic, and they need daily brushing and monthly grooming.
2. Boston Terrier
This breed craves companionship and is especially fond of seniors. Boston terriers are very attentive and responsive to their owners. They’re also reliable watchdogs who announce visitors at the door. However, once introduced, they’re polite and easygoing, especially with children. They love to play but don’t require much exercise.
Temperament varies by dog. Some are high-spirited while others are gentle and dignified. The most reliable way to discern personality is by obtaining a dog as an adult. Grooming is relatively easy. Boston terriers need daily face cleanings and weekly brushing.
3. French Bulldog
Frenchies are cheerful and companionable. They become nervous and verbal if left alone for long periods. They tend to be well-behaved with strangers, children, and other pets. French bulldogs need daily face cleanings and weekly brushings.
To stay healthy, French bulldogs should have 15-minute walks twice daily. They also require some playtime each day, and they love chasing balls. However, be cautious during warm weather, since the breed is vulnerable to heatstroke.
This is another breed that’s ideal for stay-at-home seniors. Gentle and affectionate, the Havanese seeks constant company. If left alone for more than a few hours, they start chewing and barking. They get along well with strangers, children, and other animals. With a playful nature, the Havanese likes to act silly and draw attention.
This breed is alert, notifying when someone has arrived at the house. A Havanese is ideal for a senior with allergies, since it doesn’t shed.
Regarding care, this breed requires two walks a day and daily brushing. Keeping the coat clipped short makes grooming easier. Take them to dog salons every two months.
5. Lhasa Apso
This breed is a loyal friend, happy to sit in its owner’s lap or lie at his or her feet. Their gentle nature makes Lhasa Apsos a good choice for seniors with grandchildren.
With an acute sense of hearing and assertive nature, Lhasa Apsos are natural watchdogs. Curious and adventurous, they like to play in yards and parks. However, they don’t require much exercise. Lhasa Apsos don’t shed, but their fur gets matted unless it’s brushed daily. They have long life spans, averaging 14 years.
In addition to enjoying the company of beloved pets, interacting with compassionate respite caregivers can also help older adults relieve stress and enjoy a higher quality of life. For families living in Victoria, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
This breed suits housebound seniors, since poodles are happiest in the company of people. If left alone for extended periods, poodles get lonely and agitated. They’re loyal, affectionate, and playful. Being very intelligent, they’re easily trained, and they get along well with children.
There are three sizes of poodles: toy, miniature, and standard. Regular walking will suffice, as they don’t require much exercise. They also prefer staying indoors. These dogs shed less than most other breeds, and their fur is hypoallergenic. However, they still need professional grooming every two months.
Pugs are charming, sociable, and gentle—the ideal temperament for a senior. Though very affectionate, they tend to be quiet. They love to play, cuddle, and please people.
Pugs adapt their behavior to their owners. If your loved one tends to be sedentary, a pug will be content to rest with him or her. If your loved one is active, the pug will want to be involved. Make sure to set limits, since pugs can get carried away by activity and experience overheating and breathing difficulty. They need minimal exercise. Regarding grooming, clean their face creases and brush their fur weekly.
Although dogs can be a great source of companionship, pet ownership isn’t right for every senior. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Victoria families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (250) 592-4881 today.