At Baldwin House Senior Living in Michigan, we understand the importance of dogs in our own lives and in the lives of our residents. That’s why we are happy to share that our communities allow our residents to bring their furry friends with them. We get asked all the time, “What are the best dogs for seniors?” While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we do have some insight we’d like to offer.

Because a dog gives an older adult a companion who is there for them in good times and bad, we enjoy seeing dogs in our communities. Is there a “best” dog? Not really, but there are some things to think about if you’re considering getting a dog for yourself or your aging loved one.

The Best Dogs For Older Adults

  1. Make sure your loved one wants a dog. They may have enjoyed having a dog in their life, but maybe they are at the point in their life where they don’t want the added responsibility. Be a responsible dog owner and only give a senior a dog if you know they truly want one.
  2. What is the energy level of the senior for whom you’d be getting a dog? If they are very active, then get a dog that matches that activity level. Conversely, if they enjoy slow strolls or hanging out on the couch, take that into consideration.
  3. Are you or your loved one more active if you have a dog in your life? If you’ve found that without a dog, you don’t have any real reason to get out of doors, then a furry companion could help you get more exercise and socialization, and both of those are great for your healthy, happy living.
  4. How much grooming will the dog require? If you or your loved one doesn’t have access to a car or a mobile dog groomer, you will want to look for a dog that requires minimal grooming. For example, poodles require brushing as well as haircuts, or their hair will get all matted. Short-hair dogs require less grooming. Keep in mind though that all dogs require their nails to be cut.
  5. How much money must you or the senior in your life spend on veterinary care? All dogs require at least an annual veterinarian check-up to ensure the dog is in good health. Dogs require neutering or spaying and annual vaccinations. If you or your loved one is on a tight budget, a dog may not fit into the financial picture. Ask if there are vet clinics that offer low- or no-cost veterinary care or spay and neuter clinics.
  6. The size of the dog must be taken into consideration to ensure the dog won’t be too strong and knock the senior over. Also, many senior-living communities have a weight limit on the size of dogs they allow their seniors to bring with them. Make sure you check that out before you make any decisions on a dog or where you will live with your dog.
  7. Age and temperament must be considered. Adopting a senior dog might provide an ideal companion for your loved one. Senior dogs have well-established personalities, may already be trained and are ideal for a senior owner. Older dogs will require less care and exercise than a puppy will. There are some breeds – beagles, poodles or retrievers – that are considered gentle and welcoming. But remember, every dog and every personality is different, so you want to do a meet-and-greet to get a dog who has a personality that is welcoming and happy.

If you want to give your loved one a dog, don’t surprise them with one. Make choosing a dog a joint venture. Plan a day to visit shelters or other places you can find a dog or puppy that is available. Find a dog the senior connects with and wants to spend time with.

Important note: Make certain there are provisions in place for the care of the dog if the senior no longer can do it. Responsible dog owners won’t let their dog be surrendered when the owner can no longer care for them. Have a talk with family members and determine who will step up and take the dog in once your loved one can no longer care for them.

Visit a Baldwin House Senior Living community near you. Baldwin House Senior Living is built upon the strong foundation of guiding families and empowering seniors.

Baldwin House offers families peace of mind and gives active adults and seniors who call Baldwin House home the freedom to live their very best lives. Call us today to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you or your loved one!