Match Your Senior With the Right Dog

Is your father or mother thinking of getting a dog? If so, he or she is among the many seniors who find companionship with well behaved pets. A dog can be a great asset to a senior, providing companionship, affection, and encouraging daily moderate exercise in the form of walking.  

But, in helping your mother or father pick out a dog, there are some mistakes you should avoid. 


Avoid puppies

Elderly Care Havertown, PA: Seniors and Dogs

If at all possible, you will want to encourage your mother or father to adopt a senior dog or at least a dog that is well into his adult years.  

Puppies are way cute, but very destructive of personal property and even real estate. It’s not unheard of for a puppy to chew up a door frame. Puppies require a lot of diligent training, play, and exercise that can be harder for someone over 65 to provide.  

Meanwhile dogs that are five years old or older are generally calmer. They are more likely to be house trained. If they are not already house trained, the training will be easier because their brains are fully developed and they have the better impulse control that comes with age. 

Senior dogs may be much easier to adopt if your parent or grandparent is over 65. Many adoption agencies will not let a puppy or very young pet go home with an elderly adopter. These agencies fear that the dog will outlive his adopter and that a young dog will be too much to handle for someone in his golden years.  

Senior dogs are also easier for everyone to adopt because they are the least popular dogs at the pound or rescue organization. Everyone wants a puppy. There could be dozens of applications for one puppy. The senior dog, meanwhile, is about to be euthanized.  


Certain breeds are more difficult than others 

While age and temperament are the most important issues in choosing a dog for a senior, there are a few breeds to avoid. Elderly care experts recommend against the following dog breeds for seniors: 


  • Chows. Chows are known to be more naturally aggressive than other breeds and not as affectionate. They are not always good with young grandchildren. 
  • Akitas. Akitas can be great family pets, but their sheer size may make them difficult to manage. The amount of fur they shed could also be daunting. 
  • Dalmatians. Dalmatians need a lot of exercise. Unless your senior is running long distances on a daily basis, you might want to avoid this dog.  
  • Pitbull terriers. Unfortunately, this breed can be aggressive and unpredictable, so they are not recommended for seniors.  
  • Border Collies. Border collies have a hard time overcoming their need to run and herd. They are very high energy and miserable if they don’t get enough exercise.  
  • Russell Terriers. A Russell terrier’s small size may make it seem like a good lap dog, but it is not. These dogs were bred for hunting, and they need lots of space and exercise or they may be destructive.  
  • Rottweilers. Rottweilers are great guard dogs, but it could be tough for your senior to control this dog around visitors to the home. Rottweilers are among the strongest dogs, and they can get to be as big as 130 pounds. That’s a lot of dog to try and walk.  


How can home care help your senior with his dog? 

Home care aides can help your senior live with a dog. These professionals are well versed in elderly care needs. They can walk and feed a dog on days that your senior is too unwell to do so. They can also accompany a senior as he walks his dog to keep everyone safe.  

In conclusion, dogs are good companions for many seniors at every age. Dogs provide the companionship that our elderly community members so often lack. Companion animals function not only to improve mental health, but also to get seniors walking and getting enough exercise. 


If you or an aging loved one are considering  Elderly Care in Havertown, PA please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.




Perry C. Doc Alleva, Owner & Administrator
Latest posts by Perry C. Doc Alleva, Owner & Administrator (see all)