When elderly adults and family caregivers want to bring a dog into their lives, most look for adorable puppies first. However, there are millions of loveable senior pets that get overlooked for a variety of reasons. November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and it’s the perfect time to examine why senior pets are such good companions for aging adults.
What is a Senior Dog?
A senior dog is one that is considered to be in the last 25% of its life based on the breed. Because different breeds have varying lifespans, this can change with each dog. For example, a basset hound with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years is considered a senior when it reaches 7 to 9 years old. Senior pets generally come with basic training in place due to them spending time at an animal shelter or rescue center. Staffers work on behavior training with the senior dogs to give them their best chance of getting adopted.
Why Do Elderly Adults Need a Dog?
Studies show that there are numerous health benefits to owning a dog, particularly for elderly people. Not only do dog owners get more exercise, interacting with the animals can lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce stress, and help with anxiety and depression. Many studies support the fact that dog owners are more social and feel less isolated and lonely. Even more research shows that seniors that own dogs are overall healthier and happier than those who do not.
Many elderly adults are living on their own, with only a home care aide and a friends and family members to stop by. Other seniors live with an adult child but spend a lot of time on their own. Seniors really can benefit from the companionship and responsibility of owning a dog. A senior dog is ideal for elderly adults because they don’t demand as much attention nor do they misbehave like younger dogs. Instead, they are calm and loyal companions that are content to stay close to their owner.
Bringing Senior Dogs and Elderly Adults Together
During the month of November, many animal shelters and rescue organizations make an intense effort to get the word out about senior dogs that are available in their area. Family caregivers should talk with their elderly relative about the possibility of adopting one of these fine pets. One thing to consider are whether the elderly person can take on the responsibilities of dog ownership or if a home care aide or family member will be doing most of it. Another consideration is what breed, size and personality of the dog will best fit the elderly adult.
Most senior dogs are already spayed or neutered and shelter workers will be able to tell prospective owners about the dog’s habits and preferences. For example, some senior dogs don’t get along well with other animals or they may have small medical issues that need attention. No matter what, there’s a senior dog out there for every potential senior dog owner.
It doesn’t take much to open a heart and home to a senior dog that needs a home and will provide loving companion ship for years to come.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care services in Cherry Hill, NJ, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care Services today. Call (856) 234-8700 for more information.
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