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What to Look for When Choosing a Pet For Seniors

Posted by Alyssa Ball on Aug 21, 2018 5:28:00 PM

Senior woman in red sweater holding a guinea pig

For elderly pet owners, pets are linked to a multitude of benefits, including improved the mood, reduced anxiety and companionship. According to research, pets also boost immunity and can decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. While pets are an excellent source of joy, they require a great deal of responsibility that some seniors may not be able to manage. Here are some things to look for when choosing a pet for seniors.

Energy Level

Dogs and cats are active pets. Most dogs, even older ones, still require at least an hour of exercise outdoors daily. If your loved one needs your help with care, a dog can be too much work. Even low-maintenance cat breeds, such as the American shorthair and himalayan, need attention and indoor play. Some lower energy pets are birds, hamsters, rabbits, reptiles, and fish. 


Dogs need to be walked several times a day. If you keep a cat indoors, the litter box will need to be cleaned out daily. For seniors, both options are burdensome. Birds and fish require less cleanup than dogs and cats. They'll still need their cages or tanks cleaned, but maintaining a clean environment is much easier. Hamsters are small, quiet, and easily kept in a cage. Rabbits are another easy option for seniors. 


Dogs and cats are the most interactive companions, but birds are very vocal too. Certain breeds of birds can fill the hole with lovely sounds. The budgie and the canary are social birds and that are easily trained. Although fish are easy to care for and maintain, your loved one won't get much interaction. Hamsters and rabbits can be held and pet, which make them great options for seniors wanting companionship.

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Alyssa Ball Blog Author

Topics: Seniors and Pets

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