If you’re a senior citizen looking to improve your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, the answer may be found at your local pet adoption shelter. Although the prospect of having an animal in your life might be daunting, rest assured that pups for seniors can bring value to your life far beyond any challenges you might face.
You might feel that a that little thing that has four paws and a wet nose could be too much. However, you might be surprised at a four-legged friend can add a new leash on life. Everyone, no matter their age, needs to feel needed and loved. Not to mention caring for a pet can also improve your mental health. Let’s look at the benefits of having pups for seniors.
Why Pets Are Good For Seniors
According to the AARP, there are many reasons to add a canine companion to your life. Dogs not only help keep you physically fit, but they may also be the icebreaker to your next friendship. Other benefits of having a dog include:
- You always have a faithful companion. Dogs are pack animals, and you’ll be their leader. They’ll stay by your side as long as you let them.
- Having a dog may lead to lower blood pressure. When you have an active pet – dogs need to go walk at least twice each day – you’ll naturally exercise more, and this can lead to better health. Plus, snuggling with a pup is a great way to calm down when you’re stressed.
- Dogs are easy to care for. Sure, dogs are hands-on, and they want to be with you all the time. But many breeds, such as the Italian greyhound, King Charles spaniel, chihuahua, and Bernese mountain dog, are all low maintenance, intelligent, and just plain fun to have around.
Dog Care Tips
Although most dogs are fairly low maintenance, there are some care tips to keep in mind. These mostly revolve around nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care.
Dogs need a nutritionally balanced diet and, with meat dog food, you can ensure they are getting the protein and vitamins they need to stay happy. Consider air-dried food, which has a few benefits compared to wet food. It’s lower carb and dried at the peak of its nutritional profile to maximize flavor and nutrient absorption.
Most dog breeds need around 20 to 30 minutes of activity daily. This could be a walk, a romp in the park, or just some free time in the backyard. USA Today notes, however, that you don’t necessarily have to put on your sneakers with them every day, and as long as your pet is getting some activity, they’re probably just fine.
Just like with human doctors, no two veterinarians are alike. And just as you would interview your own healthcare providers, you should put some thought and legwork into picking out a medical care team for your dog. Start by asking people you know which veterinarians they recommend. You can also look for animal doctors that are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association for a specialty, which is important if your pet has specific health problems.
Is getting a dog in your senior year work? Yes. Is it worth it? Double yes. Animals keep us healthy, happy, and engaged. They can work as the backbone of our social lives, and they even make sure we get up off the couch sometimes and keep our own bodies moving. Feed them well with high-quality, meat-based dog food, make sure they exercise at least 20 minutes each day and spend some extra time vetting your veterinarian. These and the other steps listed above will help you enjoy a long-term and loving relationship with your new canine companion.