Seniors benefit from the companionship of pets

Seniors benefit from the companionship of pets

Studies have shown the strong connection between an owner and their pet can increase fitness, lower stress and bring general happiness to their owners. Even the CDC proudly proclaims the health benefits of having a pet. When it comes to owning a pet, there are many options. Some pets are ideal for increasing your exercise level, while others fill the companionship or stress relieving categories. But which pets are most ideal for seniors and retirees? Here are a few pets to consider for your senior loved one, as well as some you might want to stay away from.

Pets to consider


When the word “pet” comes to mind, many of us instinctively think of man’s best friend. Dogs are widely popular and can be a great fit for seniors and retirees. That being said, not all breeds are appropriate for older generations. Between upkeep, cost, exercise demands and temperament, selecting the right breed is important when looking for a companion. Everyone’s situation is different, so evaluate your physical, monetary and housing limitations accordingly. Check out this list of great breeds for seniors to start your search, and keep in mind that adoption is a great option!


As the second most popular animal in the United States, it is understandable that felines are another great option for seniors. Cats make great companions for those with limited mobility because they’re relatively low maintenance and have minimal housing demands. As with dogs, you should carefully consider breed types as some breeds have higher grooming costs and are more prone to health issues. Check out this great list of cat breeds you may want to consider.


The therapeutic benefits of interacting with birds is well documented. Whether it be bird watching, feeding or just enjoying their soft songs, having a feathered friend can make a great addition to any environment. Although some species are maintenance intensive, there are a number of breeds that are easy to care for. With countless retirement communities and nursing homes joining in the aviary craze, it’s time to consider birds as a top pet for seniors. Take a look at this great blog as it explores the top three types of birds to consider.

Pets to avoid

Saltwater fish:

Fish can make great pets due to their therapeutic effect, however, saltwater aquariums are fairly labor intensive to care for. They require specific temperature, lighting and even daily salinity adjustments due to evaporation. Caring for a saltwater tank can be a major burden. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done, it is just important to consider your time, energy and budget when evaluating if saltwater fish are the best fit for you or your loved one. Take a look at this well-written article detailing the things you will want to consider before moving forward.

Bearded dragons:

As with saltwater aquariums, bearded dragons are both popular and labor intensive. With specific requirements on temperature, UV lighting and proper humidity, constant attention is needed to keep these playful reptiles alive and well. Toss in their weekly need to eat insects, and this popular companion is less than ideal for seniors and retirees. This is not a hard line in the sand, but if you are considering a bearded dragon as a pet you should take a peek at this blog on caring for them.

All in all, there are a number of pets that are ideal for any senior. But before buying or adopting, evaluate what you are looking for in your next companion as well as the environment you will be living. Many senior housing communities are adopting pet-friendly policies to encourage pet ownership. If you found this article helpful and have made the choice to get a pet, we hope you share your story with us in the comments below!