Benefits of a Dog For Seniors

Affectionate, loyal, nurturing: There are many reasons why dogs make great companions for seniors. Not only do dogs provide friendship and comfort, but they also help keep seniors healthy and encourage sociability.  Dogs give seniors a good reason to get up and move—walking a dog can help keep them fit.  When you get out of the house for that walk, you have more chances to be social, too, from greeting neighbors on the street to impromptu conversations with fellow dog owners.

In fact, dog owners register up to 30 minutes more exercise per day than peers who do not have a pet. That increased exercise leads to healthier weight, decreased depression, and decreased risk of heart disease.  Of course, the benefits you get from owning a dog in retirement are much more than your daily stroll outside. You will also get the natural stress relief that comes with dog ownership as well as decreased feelings of loneliness.

Below we list breeds that are perfect to accompany you during retirement.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Spaniels are devoted dogs, and the Cavalier King Charles is no exception. These small dogs are known for their exceptional cuddling skills; they would much rather be on your lap than alone. Their smaller size also means they are well suited for apartment or condo living. Just be sure you are ready to make frequent trips to the groomer; these dogs need regular grooming to stay healthy and happy.

Labrador Retriever

Consistently ranking as America’s favorite dog breed, the Labrador retriever is an ideal companion for families and retirees alike. This breed is known for its friendly and eager-to-please personality, which is especially great if your home is busy with visitors. You’ll never have to worry about aggressive behavior toward your visiting grandkids or mail carrier.

Labrador retrievers need plenty of exercise but are typically not hyperactive if they miss an occasional walk. Further, their larger size means you won’t have to worry about tripping over them as you navigate your home.


Varying in size depending on their type, Goldendoodles are excellent companions. These adorable dogs feature soft coats and look just like teddy bears. Even better, they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in most humans. While they are not fully hypoallergenic, people with dog allergies can often cohabitate with these dogs without needing to take daily medication.  These dogs are excellent companions and quite smart.

Bichon Frise

These white powder puffs of a dog are known for their sweet and friendly nature and are perfect for seniors seeking easy companionship—they also make great pets for first-time dog owners. These low-maintenance pups aren’t difficult to potty train and don’t shed much, which is why they are one of the best dogs for seniors.

Bichons are gentle and playful and they get along well with other pets and children, so you don’t need to put them in another room if the grandkids stop by. At an average of 7 to 12 pounds, they are also super portable. Not to mention smart.

Like the best toy dogs, they are perfectly content to sit on your lap for hours every morning, as you read the paper or watch the news. Bichon Frise’s don’t require long two-mile hikes to keep them happy, rather they’re fine with 20 to 30 minute leisurely strolls. What they crave most is attention, something seniors often have time to give.

Shih Tzu

The name Shih Tzu means little lion, but the most fierce thing about this breed is their love for the owner. Shih Tzus bond very quickly with humans, making them great choices for seniors looking for a close canine companion. Weighing an of average 9 to 16 pounds, Shih Tzus, known for their long coats, pack a lot of personality in their small frame. They are a confident, happy-go-lucky breed with a bit of a stubborn streak. But they are less demanding and less yappy than other smaller toy dogs, making them a good choice for seniors who live alone. They are also not very energetic and only need a couple of short walks a day, making them perfect for non-active seniors.

The decision to adopt a pet is not one that should be taken lightly. Bringing a pet into the household is a lifelong decision for that animal.  After thoughtfully considering your options and needs, it’s comforting to know there is a dog for everyone and every age.

Please visit us at Elder Home Care to learn more about how we can assist with your choice of breed and to learn more about how we can help with your senior care needs.