Senior’s Guide: Finding Your Ideal Pet Companion in Your Golden Years

Moving into the retirement phase of your life comes with lots of changes, and you may be looking for companionship. Find out how your lifestyle impacts the kind of pet that would best fit you.

Over Half of Seniors Have Pets

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Studies have shown that over half of seniors over age 50 have pets, and it’s easy to see why. Pets help with emotional and mental health and can keep their owners active.

The Positive Impact of Animal Companionship

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One particular survey showed that for the vast majority of seniors who owned pets, their animal companions made a big difference in their lives. Many reported feeling safer, as well as having lower stress levels.

How the Pandemic Increased Pet Ownership

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While many seniors were dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness during the pandemic, ten percent said they adopted a new pet into their homes during the first year.

Important Considerations

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If you’ve considered getting a pet, you might wonder what factors you should consider before taking the plunge. There are a few important points to keep in mind.

Upfront and Maintenance Costs of Owning a Pet

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Pets cost quite a bit of money, from the upfront investment of adopting or purchasing it to food and veterinary care. If you aren’t sure whether you can afford the commitment, you could consider volunteering your time as a foster home or clinic carer. 

The Physical Needs of Your Animal Friend

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Physical limitations are important to consider when caring for an animal. Some pets require more of a physical commitment than others. You should make sure to get a pet that you know you can keep up with.

Caring for Your Pet When You’re Not Around

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If you enjoy traveling, you’ll need to make arrangements to have your pet cared for in your absence. Don’t forget to have a plan in place for that, as well as any important information about your animal that a pet sitter would need to know.

How Does Your Lifestyle Dictate Your Ideal Pet?

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Lifestyle considerations are also important. Thinking about how you enjoy spending your time can help you figure out what pet might fit in best.

Dogs Are Perfect for Active Lifestyles

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For more active lifestyles, dogs are a great choice. About 70% of pet owners in the United States have a dog, and they’re historically considered excellent companions. However, dogs are a huge commitment.

Active Seniors Tend to Enjoy Dogs More

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Seniors who enjoy going for walks, hiking, and spending time outside may opt for a dog because they know they’ll be able to give the dog plenty of exercise. 

Breed Differences

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Some dogs need more physical activity than others, so it’s a good idea to research individual breeds and get to know a pup before bringing them home.

43% of Pet Owners Are Cat People

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Meanwhile, 43% of American pet owners have a cat. These animals are wonderful options for seniors who prefer a pet that is largely self-sufficient. 

Low-Maintenance Companions

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As long as they’re given a clean litter box, fresh food and water, and affection when they request it, cats are easy to please. These days, automatic and self-cleaning litter boxes and food dispensers make caring for cats easier than ever.

A Travel-Friendly Friend

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Those who like traveling may find that cats are a good option for them because they don’t require as much care. Generally, being checked on once a day or so is enough for a cat to keep itself entertained for a few days.

Pet Fish for Mobility Challenges

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If furry friends aren’t for you, you might consider bringing home a fish or two. Tanks are relatively easy to maintain and often sit higher up, requiring less bending for care. This makes them a perfect option for anyone with mobility issues.

A Low-Cost Pet

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Fish are generally not very expensive. The upfront cost is the biggest expense since they’ll need a spacious and healthy habitat, but fish food is cheap. 

Veterinary Care and Fish

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Fish rarely require veterinary care, but they can still get sick, so don’t forget to factor in the costs for healthcare if you decide on a fish.

What About Birds?

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Birds are great options for seniors who spend a lot of time at home and might prefer an interactive pet. Some birds can even be taught to speak. 

Perfect for Seniors at Home

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Since they live in cages, domesticated birds are a favorite pet for folks who need low-maintenance companions. They don’t require much besides a clean cage and regular feeding.

The Calming Effect of Birdsongs

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Whistling birds can provide a lovely environment for anyone who feels alone, and seniors are no exception.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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