The Benefits of Having a Dog When You're Older

The Benefits of Having a Dog When You're Older

Last update: 27 May, 2018

When you get to a certain age and live alone (for whatever reason), it’s good to have the company of a pet. Having a dog when you’re older is so good for you — and also good for the dog! Find out why below.

Why should an older person have a dog?

We love pets for their affection and company. Sometimes they’re even what gets us up in the morning. Older people, being widowed or without close family, are at a higher risk of depression. If there’s an illness or disability as well, it makes things even worse.

Their children or grandchildren might believe that giving them a dog will pose more of a problem than a solution. But it’s been shown that this is not the case. Among the benefits of having a pet later in life, we find the following:


Older people with pets.

Retirement is actually a complicated time of life, often full of mixed feelings. Retirees might feel like they’re no longer useful, that they’re a burden, that they have no purpose in life… A pet makes them feel like they’re useful.  It can give them a purpose every morning.

Less stress and tension

When we’re sad, depressed, or tired, there’s nothing better than doggy cuddles! In fact, it’s been proven that having a pet reduces anxiety, nerves, and stress when dealing with bad news or a big life change.


Taking a dog to the park is an excellent way to meet new people who also have pets. It gets you out of the house, and although you only need to dress well enough to take the dog for a walk, it’s great if you live alone.

Good health

If you take a dog for a walk you’ll be getting fresh air and some physical activity. This sort of routine counts as exercise and is good for your heart health. Walking reduces cholesterol, helps prevent hip injuries, and regulates blood sugar levels.

Good company

Having a pet sit at your feet while you watch television, read, or knit feels beautiful. Simply having another living being around when you’re sad, bored, or tired helps so much. If a person lives alone, they’ll never feel lonely again.

How to choose a dog for an older person?

It’s a really important thing to consider. O lder people don’t have the strength to look after a large dog nor the energy to play with a puppyA puppy may even destroy things or do his business all over the house. There are certain key characteristics that you should look for when choosing a dog for older person, such as:

Middle age

An older woman and her dog.

Puppies and older dogs require more care and attention. Therefore, the best choice is an animal that is at least three years old and at most five. This way the dog and the person will age together and “understand” each other better. The dog will be sure to get the care he needs, too. It feels good to adopt an older dog; you’ll have saved a life!

Small size

It’s best to choose a small breed so that they don’t end up pulling their owner over when they’re out on a walk. This is another good reason to choose middle age — there won’t be any surprises in how much they grow. Furthermore, it’s much easier to have them in a small apartment and they need less food than larger breeds.

Lastly, bear in mind what care the animal will need. For example, it’s best if the dog has short hair and doesn’t shed too much so that the house doesn’t require daily cleaning.  As far as personality is concerned, they should be affectionate, sociable, and even-tempered.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.