If you’re over 65, you might think you’re too old to get a dog, especially if you’re getting a puppy. A dog can indeed be a lot of responsibility, even for those who are retired or don’t have to work full-time. But dogs can also provide many important benefits to seniors, too.
70 is the perfect age to get a dog because many dog breeds will not outlive their owners at this age, and dogs can be useful to seniors in many ways. They can be excellent companions that help to ease pain, stave off depression, and keep their owners active. People 70 and older can also help save a dog’s life by adopting an older, less active dog.
Dogs can be a great friend to seniors – and vice versa. Keep reading to learn more about why 70 is a great age to get a dog.
Seniors Have Plenty of Time for Housebreaking and Socialization
One of the biggest struggles that new dog owners deal with is finding the time to housebreak and socialize a new puppy appropriately. This can often lead to adult or adolescent dogs that are wild, difficult to control, and poorly housebroken.
People 70 years old have a leg up on their younger counterparts when it comes to raising a dog since they are typically retired and spend most of their time at home. This provides them with plenty of opportunities to bond with their new dog and train them to be the perfect canine citizens. This leads to seniors who end up with better-behaved dogs than many middle-aged dog owners who are away at work all day and raise their puppies in a training crate for extended periods.
With all their free time, seniors can dedicate enough of their time to walking, playing with, and training their dog to end up with a dog that is a joy to be around. In contrast, young adults may try to dovetail a dog into an already packed schedule, leaving the dog neglected and behaviorally inconsistent.
70 is Young Enough to Enjoy a Dog
While people who are 70 are typically slowing down in life, it doesn’t mean that they are unable to enjoy a dog’s company. Many 70-year-olds are still active—or are at least looking for an excuse to become more active in their retirement—and a new dog can provide the perfect outlet. (Source: Bark Busters)
Because dog breeds have a huge range of temperaments, sizes, and activity levels, it isn’t difficult for a 70-year-old to find a dog that is suited to their lifestyle.
An older adult who has mobility issues might be happier with a small lap dog or a dog that is relatively inactive, such as a Basset Hound.
Someone who is 70 and still fairly active may want to adopt a larger or more robust breed that enjoys getting out for walks every day.
Small Dogs Are Good Companions for Seniors
Even for 70 year-olds that are too frail to handle a puppy or a large breed dog, there are plenty of small dog breeds available that can provide seniors with pocket-sized canine companionship that is easy for even the weakest person to handle safely without having to worry about being dragged down the street or knocked down in the foyer.
Another reason that small dogs are a good companion for seniors is that these little breeds usually make excellent watchdogs, which can be useful for older people who don’t live in safe neighborhoods. (Source: Vet Street) A small dog can bark and raise the alarm in the event of a break-in, even if an older person may have hearing loss and may not have heard the disturbance themselves.
Seniors Can Provide a Good Home for Older Shelter Dogs
For older adults who don’t want to raise a puppy, adopting an older shelter dog can often be a lifesaver (quite literally) for shelter animals that may end up passed over because they aren’t as cute or cuddly as younger dogs and puppies that are up for adoption.
Here are some advantages of getting an older shelter dog for seniors:
- It is often easy to find an older dog at the shelter that is at least partially (if not completely) housebroken. Even though it may take a bit of a refresher when moving the dog into a new household, this housebreaking background can make older dogs much easier to take care of than young puppies.
- An older dog is in the golden years of its life, just like a 70-year-old person. If you’re looking for a cuddly companion to curl up on the couch and watch game shows all day, an older dog is a great choice. These dogs will require less exercise than younger dogs, so they’re good for seniors with mobility issues or problems with fatigue.
- Puppies of certain breeds may outlive their owner if its owner is 70 years old. Not only can losing its owner in its old age be devastating for a dog, but younger dogs owned by seniors often end up in shelters themselves if their owner dies, and no family member wants to take them in. Getting an older dog helps decrease the chances of a 70-year-old dying before their precious pet and leaving them homeless.
If you think that a dog might be too much physical responsibility for you in your old age, don’t worry! Adopting an older dog can not only help to revive your livelihood, but it can also provide you with easygoing companionship.
Having a Dog Can Stave Off Illness and Depression in the Elderly
While these benefits extend to everyone, not just seniors, scientists have found that people who pet dogs have lower blood pressure, older adults who keep dogs are less susceptible to geriatric depression, which affects seniors as they grow less active and less socially connected in their retirement. (Source: Geriatrics Magazine)
It is easy for older people to become depressed and lonely as they age, especially if their spouse dies or they lose connection with the many people they spent time with as part of their professional careers or their extended families. A dog provides a source of unconditional love and friendship that can help act as a mental and emotional anchor for the elderly.
Dogs Keep Seniors Active, Sociable, and Purposeful
Not only can dogs have a positive effect on your physical health by helping stave off illness and depression, but having a dog also helps seniors to stay more physically active, which in turn can have many positive benefits for their physical health.
Dogs also help older adults stay sociable, and the daily routine of caring for the dog helps provide purpose for the elderly, who may otherwise become driftless in their behavior. A lack of routine is a major contributor to senility in the elderly, so anything that provides a sense of daily structure can help keep older minds sharp and clear. Exercising a dog each day with a walk can even help lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. (Source: UK Express)
70 is a Great Age to Get a Dog
If you’re 70 years old and you’re on the fence about getting a new dog for your household, there are tons of reasons why you should seriously consider it. Not only can you provide a loving home for a homeless animal, but you will also gain many emotional and physical benefits from having a dog as a part of your household.