Owning a dog can keep elderly men and women healthier. Dogs require daily exercise, love, and attention. The daily exercise is often beneficial as it forces seniors to go outside and walk around a yard or neighborhood. As a result, this can help seniors stay active longer. It isn't a guarantee, however.
Before your parent brings a dog into his or her family, it's important to look at the full picture. Is your mom or dad ready to take on all the responsibilities that come with owning a dog?
Exercise Levels Depend on the Breed
The actual amount of exercise a dog needs is often dependent on its breed. Border collies need a lot of activity, both mental and physical, to keep from becoming bored. That's why you often see dog owners working with dogs on agility training. Most border collie owners feel a half hour of running is important to keep their dog happy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a French bulldog is a breed that likes to lounge. They do need exercise to prevent obesity, but a walk around a yard or up and down a street is usually sufficient.
Choose a dog based on your parent's abilities. If your mom has a hard time walking to the end of the driveway and back before she's risking a fall, a less energetic dog is ideal. If your dad can handle a walk around the neighborhood, a dog with more energy may be better.
Is Your Parent on a Fixed Income?
Owning a dog does cost money. There's the cost of food, treats, and toys each month. Veterinary care, grooming, and medications are other costs. If your parent is on a very tight budget, it's worth talking to a local rescue. Some rescues have programs that help cover the costs.
These programs waive adoption fees and often discount veterinary care. In exchange for the more affordable option, your parent adopts an older pet that might otherwise go ignored in the shelter. Older dogs may not have as much energy as a young puppy. Plus, an older dog is usually fully trained, which makes it ideal for an elderly owner.
Look into Elderly Care Services to Help With Reminders
As abilities change, it's worth looking into the services offered through an elderly care agency. Elderly care providers can help remind your parent of things that need to be done. They can help remind your parent to take the dog outside for a potty break. Elderly care aides can provide transportation to appointments or accompany your parent on daily walks. Call our elderly care agency to discuss other services.