Age is indeed just a number, but when it comes to pets, one may wonder: should an 80-year-old get a dog?
The consideration of owning a dog at this stage of life brings forth many factors to contemplate, encompassing not only the joys of companionship but also the responsibilities and potential challenges of owning a dog.
We understand how crucial it is to understand the implications of the responsibility of having a dog in the golden years. This article leaves no stone unturned in getting a furry canine friend at 80.
Dive in as we uncover the reality of getting a dog at 80, the weight of the responsibilities, and the undeniable joy of having the companionship of a dog during the senior years.
Factors To Consider When Getting a Dog at 80
Below are some of the considerations for an 80-year-old who wants to get a dog:
Considering your health before committing to getting a dog at 80 is essential. Having a dog would be great if you are in good health, have the physical ability to care for a dog, and can handle the responsibilities of daily walks, feeding, and grooming.
However, if there are health issues or mobility concerns, it’s essential to consider whether caring for a pet is feasible. Having health issues and adding a dog on top of it can be overwhelming. If you plan on being the primary caregiver for the dog, you need to be in good physical and mental status.
Type of Dog
It is essential to get the right dog type to match your needs. Different dog breeds have different energy levels, exercise needs, and temperaments. Choosing a dog that matches the owner’s ability to meet these needs is crucial. Some smaller or low-energy breeds may be more suitable for seniors.
Owning a dog comes with a significant amount of financial responsibility. According to Spruce Pets, owning a dog costs $1500-$9900 annually. Hence, you must be ready with your budget when getting a dog.
The costs include food, veterinary care, grooming, and potential unexpected expenses. Hence, you must be financially prepared to give your dog a decent life.
While having a dog can provide companionship, reduce loneliness, and offer emotional support, it also requires a significant shift in how you lead your life. If you have never had a pet, having one at 80 comes with considerable lifestyle shifts.
Dogs require time, attention, and companionship. If you are active and have a routine that allows for pet care, a dog can provide companionship and encourage physical activity.
Duration Of the Commitment
If you get a young dog, you can expect the dog to live for more than ten years. Ten years is a long-term commitment. Being ready to care for your dog for a long time is essential. Also, consider having someone who can care for your pet when you cannot provide care.
Which Dog Age For an 80-year-old?
The dog’s age is essential when getting a dog at 80. The dog’s age influences its energy levels and how it matches your energy levels.
With that said, adopting a senior dog can be an excellent choice. Old dogs often have lower energy levels, are generally calmer, and may be more adaptable to a quieter lifestyle. A senior dog can provide companionship without exhausting you with hyperactivity.
Remember, this does not disqualify you from getting a younger dog. Seniors can get a puppy and live extraordinary lives if they match the puppy’s high energy levels and temperament.
Other Dog Characteristics to Consider When Getting a Dog at 80
Besides age, there are other essential dog characteristics to check when getting a dog at 80. Below are some of the crucial features:
Size and Breed
Smaller or medium-sized breeds known for being calm and adaptable may be more suitable. If you are looking for an arm-size dog to provide companionship and have fun with, a small-size breed with a great temperament is perfect for seniors.
Another critical feature is a dog’s temperament. A calm, gentle, and well-mannered dog is a good fit for an older 80-year-old. Easygoing and not overly energetic dogs are an incredible choice for seniors.
Depending on your needs, a trained dog can work for you. A dog already trained or with basic obedience skills can be less demanding for an older owner. Also, if you have a physical disability, you can get a service dog to help you quickly move around your daily activities.
Consider choosing a dog with an energy level that matches your activity level. While an older individual may not be able to engage in high-energy activities, some daily walks and playtime are essential for the dog’s and the owner’s well-being.
Why You Should Get a Dog at 80
While getting a dog at 80 can be challenging, it can also bring incredible fulfilment. Here’s why it’s not too late to get a dog at 80:
Seniors need companionship for their well-being. Dogs are compassionate and loyal. Having a dog can provide constant and unconditional companionship if you are experiencing loneliness or isolation during your senior years.
Emotional Support and Regulation
Interacting with a dog can stimulate the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin helps in emotional regulation and is responsible for happiness. Dogs can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The presence of a dog can contribute to a sense of purpose and provide emotional support, promoting overall mental well-being.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
Owning a dog encourages physical activity. Daily walks and playtime can help you stay active, maintain mobility, and provide a reason to go outside, which benefits both physical and mental health.
Also, interacting with a dog, whether through training or play, can provide mental stimulation. This can be particularly beneficial for cognitive function, helping to keep the mind active. Proper cognitive function is excellent for seniors and can help prevent and control mental health conditions such as dementia.
Improved Social Interactions
Walking a dog or visiting dog-friendly spaces can facilitate social interactions. It provides opportunities for conversations with other dog owners, neighbours, or community members, fostering a sense of connection.
Also, owning a dog makes you look approachable and friendly, facilitating new connections and possible friendships.