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A pet for your senior loved one might seem like a good idea to help them feel less lonely. However, caring for a pet is a huge responsibility, especially if your loved one has problems taking care of themselves. This post will dive into the ins and outs of pet ownership for seniors.

Here is what you have to consider: Is getting a pet a good move for your senior? Can you be sure that it will work out and that it won’t prove too much for your senior to handle?

Before you take the next step, here are the pros and cons of pet ownership for seniors.

Pros of pet ownership for seniors

  • A pet can be therapy and help their aging owner rediscover the vim and vigor they thought they had lost. Moreover, older adults who have a pet tend to have better overall health and eating habits.
  • The interaction between a person and their pet can be very meaningful. It no longer matters whether Rover wants to go for a walk at first light or Fluffy scratched up the living room couch.
  • A caregiver pitching in and helping a senior look after a pet can lead to the senior becoming more cooperative and open to compromise. 

Cons of pet ownership for seniors

  • A pet becomes like a family member, and the loss of a pet can have a devastating impact on its owner. That said, the rewards of pet ownership for seniors far outweigh the downsides.

  • Taking care of a pet can be expensive. Make sure that there are sufficient financial resources to provide good food and veterinary care when necessary.

What is the best pet for seniors?

Once you have decided that your senior would benefit from having a pet, the next step is to pick the right pet based on the following criteria:

  • Past experience with having a pet: Little or no experience entails a longer adjustment period.
  • Health and mobility: If your senior has limited mobility, a cat may be a better choice than a dog.
  • Age of the pet: A house-trained older pet is probably better than a highly energetic puppy or kitten.
  • The pet’s health status: Aging pets may come with age-related health issues. Taking care of them will be more demanding and expensive.
  • The pet’s personality: The staff at the animal shelter can help you here. 

Is a senior pet a better choice?

Generally speaking, dogs and cats are considered to be senior after the age of seven or so. Although older pets are likely to eventually have age-related health issues, for most seniors, senior pets are the best choice. Older pets are not typically too mischievous or overenergetic. They have lots of love to give and most readily come to value a new home with a caring owner. 

Quality in-home care in Columbia, SC

While there are many things to consider when deciding whether to get a pet for your senior loved one, for many people, the pros far outweigh the cons. Caring Healthcare understands the bond that develops between your senior loved one and their pet. Our trained caregivers are on hand to help your loved one stay in their home with their beloved pet companion. Pet ownership for seniors is something we completely understand. Please get in touch with us to find out what we can do to help.