It has long been said that dogs are man’s best friend, but could they be a senior’s too? America is home to more than 46 million individuals aged 65 or over, however, 12 million of these are living alone. These seniors often experience isolation and loneliness which can impact their health. Therefore, getting a companion in the form of a furry, four legged pooch is the perfect way to combat these feelings. Small dogs are ideal as they require less exercise, are easy to scoop up and cuddle and you’ll rarely find a small dog that’s lazy or unsociable. If that isn’t enough to encourage you to get a small breed dog as a pet, here’s how else they can help beat loneliness in the older generation.
Promotes healthy relationships
Small breed dogs come in all shapes and sizes. From a Chihuahua which can weigh in at just 1.5 kg to a Bichon Frise which can top the scales at 5 kg, there are plenty of purebred dogs and crossbreed pooches to take your pick from. Regardless of whether you opt for a puppy or an adult hound, it’s an exciting time and there’s no doubt that your loved ones will rally around to help welcome your new furry companion into your home. Socially isolated seniors are more likely to state that their quality of life will worsen over the coming decade, according to the National Council on Ageing. However, introducing a small dog to your family is a great way to rebuild your relationships as you enjoy training and taking your dog to be professionally together.
Socialize on your daily walk
Regardless of their size, all dogs require regular walks. A small breed dog, such as a Shih Tzu needs a 20 minute walk a day, whereas a large Great Dane requires 60 to 90 minutes exercise each day. As seniors age, their health has a tendency to decline which increases the risk of health conditions, including hypertension, arthritis and heart disease. But, owning a dog encourages a healthier lifestyle in older individuals who live unaided, as confirmed by researchers at Michigan State University who found that owning a pooch increases leisure-time physical activity by 69%. Most of all, welcoming a small breed dog into your life will enhance your social experiences as when you bump into old friends at the local park and meet new ones at the dog groomers.
The British Columbia Ministry of Health states that seniors who live alone following the passing of their spouse are more likely to experience emotional and social isolation. Yet, these feelings can be counteracted by a small breed dog. Yorkshire Terriers are renowned for having a big personality and they will provide you with all the love and affection you require. Meanwhile, a Havanese will happily spend the day glued to your lap enjoying cuddles and tummy rubs. Thus, helping ease the transition of living without your partner.
Seniors up and down the country can benefit from getting a small breed dog as a companion. Millions of seniors confess to feeling lonely and isolated, but having a small pooch by your side can help rebuild your relationships, will get you out and about and he or she will provide you with all the love and affection you could ever want.