Best Pets for Seniors
Did you know that according to the findings of the University of Michigan, approximately 55% of older adults admitted to having a pet? When asked what made these people get pets, most responses mentioned benefits such as reduced stress, feeling loved, a sense of purpose, physical health, and much more.
These statistics prove that pets are incredibly valuable for seniors in terms of physical and mental health. So if you are looking for a companion for yourself or a loved one, here is a list of the best pets for seniors to streamline your decision-making process.
Best Pets for Seniors
The best pets for seniors include:
Dogs make the ideal pets for seniors for several reasons. Firstly, dogs require regular walks and outdoor playtime, which is great for an older adult's mental and physical health.
It gives older individuals a reason to go outdoors even when they may not feel like it and allows them to stay active and social. However, if you are a senior considering getting a dog as a pet, you must consider several factors, including:
· The size of your home
· Your overall health and physical abilities
· Your overall lifestyle
Getting a smaller breed, like a Chihuahua, Pomeranian, or Pug, would be better if you have a smaller home. Moreover, if your age has impacted your health or physical activities, you must consider factors like who will feed, care for, and walk the dog.
Considering the abovementioned factors will allow you to determine if getting a dog is a wise decision and if you can give the animal the right amount of love and care it needs.
Cats make great pets for seniors. Firstly, cats are low-maintenance animals, perfect for seniors who may not be capable of caring for high-maintenance pets. They also do not demand a large indoor space, making them ideal pets in smaller homes like apartment complexes.
Moreover, they are considerably quieter than dogs, another reason they make the best pets for older adults living in apartments. You won't have to worry about disturbing your neighbors or dealing with noise complaints when you have a cat as a pet.
They are also highly independent animals and usually care for their cleanliness. They do require daily brushing, especially if you get breeds like Persians. However, if you think you won't have the strength to brush your cat daily, you can opt for breeds with shorter hair.
Fishes rank third in the list of the best pets for seniors due to their low maintenance needs. They do not require exercising or playing or have the same emotional needs as other pets, such as dogs or cats. Your
pet fish will not become depressed if you do not spend time with it when you are not feeling well. However, if your dog or cat does not receive your attention for a single day, they may show signs of distress.
This is why fishes are perfect pets for seniors with mobility challenges and other health concerns that may prevent them from constantly being there for their pets. All you'll need to do to keep your pet fish happy and healthy is set up a tank or a bowl and take care of the enclosure's cleanliness and the fish's feeding requirements.
Birds also make excellent companions for seniors, especially those who live alone. The talking, twittering, and singing of birds can be great for a senior's mental health and have several therapeutic benefits.
Birds also don’t have needs that require you to be active, which makes them a good pet choice for seniors with limited mobility. They normally like spending time in their cages and do not require walking, so you won't have to worry about your mobility concerns impacting your bird's health.
However, birds are deemed lifelong companions since certain species may have lengthy lifespans. So if you are a senior planning to get a bird, you must also arrange for their future without you.
Furthermore, one must consider factors like noise when choosing a bird as a pet. Certain birds are increasingly chatty and scream when not given attention.
These species might not be appropriate for residents of apartment buildings where your neighbors may live right next door to you. So if you live in an apartment and want a bird, go for quieter species like Parakeets, Cockatiels, or Canaries that are not as loud as Cockatoos or Alexandrines.
Not only are hamsters cute and cuddly, but they also don't require much exercise or attention. They receive plenty of exercises while running on their spinning wheels.
Moreover, hamsters have short lifespans, which makes them a perfect fit for seniors who do not want to worry about planning their pet's future without them.
Rabbits are also a popular pet choice among seniors because of their low care requirements. They are small and don't make much noise, making them ideal pets for people who live in retirement homes or apartments.
You can keep them in a small box without worrying about playtime or walks. As a result, they are also wonderful pets for older adults with mobility challenges. All you need to provide your pet rabbit to keep it happy and healthy is a proper diet, a clean litter box, and fresh water.
Guinea pigs top the list of the most low-maintenance pets. Guinea pig care is incredibly simple since they only require minimal playtime, a clean environment, and proper feeding to stay happy and thriving.
These factors make guinea pigs the appropriate pet for older adults with age-related health conditions and mobility limitations.
As discussed above, dogs, cats, fishes, guinea pigs, birds, hamsters, and rabbits make the best pets for seniors. All these animals offer unique benefits to older adults, with some providing greater physical activity and others offering therapeutic benefits.
Regardless of the animal you pick, you can rest assured that these companions will help boost your quality of life and make you a much happier and healthier individual in the long run.