Choosing a new pet can be exciting, but it may also be intimidating.
After all, hopefully your new pooch, kitten, budgie or goldfish will be with you for many years – so you need to make a decision that’s right for your lifestyle and your health. People with fur allergies, for instance, should stay away from hairy dogs, while anyone looking for energetic pets to play with might want to steer clear of goldfish.
But when you’re elderly, choosing a new pet can be a very emotional decision – especially if you’re looking for a companion after the death of a loved one. However, with so many different pets to choose from, older animal lovers can find exactly the right pet for them with some careful research and planning.
The best dogs for older owners
Dogs are among the most popular pets for over-50s, but elderly owners should choose their dogs carefully. For instance, it can be tiring to bring up a puppy so perhaps an older dog with a more sedate temperament makes a better pet for an older owner. You should also think about the size and energy level of adult dogs. Small dogs like poodles and spaniels are more popular with over-50s as they don’t take up too much room and aren’t known for being boisterous. If you lead an active lifestyle, a corgi is a great choice too since they are active without being over-energetic.
Ultimately, you should choose a dog that you love, and a breed that will fit your lifestyle best. This dog breed selector tool from Animal Planet may offer some help, and Champdogs is a great place to look for pedigree dogs too. But you should also seek the opinion of a doctor or vet if you have health problems and perhaps ask The Cinnamon Trust for advice.
Picking a cat that suits your lifestyle
Cats are also great pets for people over-50 – particularly because, by and large, cats can take care of themselves. Again, this doesn’t mean all cats are great pets for retirees. Kittens can be hard to toilet-train, so it may be less hassle in the long run to opt for an adult cat who’s already been seen to by a vet. Some cat breeds may be high maintenance too: Persian cats, for instance, look beautiful but are likely to shed hair all over your home.
You should also consider if you want a cat that’s happy to stay indoors and curl up on your lap as you watch TV, or if you’re looking for a feline that prowls the neighbourhood stalking its prey. British Shorthair and Ragdoll cats are particularly friendly home-dwellers, and make loveable housebound cats for older owners.
For more information on keeping cats, websites like The Catster offer sage advice on everything from breeds to general health and care. And remember, if you’re finding caring for your pet tiring or taxing, then you can always ask for help. Local animal charities will be able to offer you advice, and it’s often wise to ask friends, families and neighbours to help out when they can. It’s also advisable to invest in a comprehensive pet insurance policy, so you know that you’ll be covered should your pet need to visit a vet.
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