A dog is a wonderful companion for seniors. Dogs not only dote on their owners, but they also protect and guard them with their life.
A person in their latter years can enjoy such a trusted companion and protector. However, not all dogs make the best guards for the elderly so check out the following considerations before you bring one home.
Tips for seniors seeking to acquire a dog:
A large or active dog is probably not the right choice for a senior, especially if they have physical limitations.
- The amount of grooming and training that the dog will require.
- The different types of medical conditions the breed can develop.
- Play with the breed before adopting it because your temperament needs to match theirs.
- Consider your medical and physical limitations, such as mobility issues. Mobility issues can prevent you from taking your dog out for daily walks. If you have oxygen tubing, a puppy is not the right choice for you because he may likely play with it.
- Educate yourself on the different resources that you may need to take care of your dog, such as grooming, dog walkers, veterinary visits, pet sitting, and supplies.
- If you live in an assisted living community, find out if they have a pet care coordinator and learn about the rules that they have in place for keeping a pet.
Once you have addressed all the above factors, you can select from one of the following dog breeds that make great guard dogs for seniors:
1. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois, a medium-sized German Shepard, is a friendly dog that is on the lookout for strangers trying to take advantage of their owner’s age and medical condition. They will listen to your command, making them highly trainable. Their downside: you will need to brush their coat daily.
2. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels have a good temperament. They are happy, loyal, and affectionate dogs. Their outgoing and sociable nature makes them highly energetic.
They are a medium-sized breed, weighing about 20 pounds. They, too, may need a lot of grooming.
3. German Pinscher
German Pinschers are excellent guard dogs, unfortunately, insurance companies have blacklisted them. Even though they are a small breed, they protect their owners. They have an innate instinct to hunt vermin, thus, making them perfect for seniors who want protection from rats and other critters.
Since their energy level is quite high, they will need daily exercise. A major plus with this bread is that they are low maintenance dogs that do not require a lot of grooming. If you are a physically fit senior with no mobility issues and you enjoy a good and active lifestyle, adopting them may be ideal for you.
4. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are one of the top choices for seniors because they are small, do not require a lot of grooming, are friendly, and they love to spend time with their owners. Since they are bred to be companion dogs, you will often see them with their owner, watching TV, or by their bed.
Wherever you are, they are close behind. They are happy and playful dogs that will pay attention to your needs.
5. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers have long beautiful hair that requires a lot of grooming to stay that way. A small and adaptable dog breed, they are intelligent, lively, and loyal.
You will need to take them out for walks daily. Even though they enjoy the company of other animals and people, do not be surprised if they become a little bossy.
Beagles are adorable, friendly, and loyal dogs. They are suitable for both families and seniors. The downside to keeping them is that they are independent dogs, which means training them takes work so, you may need to hire a dog trainer.
They also need a lot of exercise. If you are a fitness freak yourself, they will become your workout buddy and run alongside you. Additionally, they shed a lot, but with regular brushing, you can keep the shedding under control.
Pomeranians are small dogs and one of the best small dogs for seniors. They are intelligent dogs that love to interact with people. These small and lightweight dog breeds are not high maintenance at all.
Even though they are energetic, they do not need a lot of exercise. Just shower them with love, care, and attention, and they will be your loyalist of friends.
Poodles come in various sizes, from large to small. They are proud, smart, and energetic dogs. You can train them easily and they love to partake in several different types of activities. They are hypoallergic and you will need to brush and groom their coat each day or have them groomed regularly.
9. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus have a bad tendency to bark, but with training, they can learn to bark less and stop on your command. If you live in an apartment, they will fit right in because of their small size.
They are a lap dog, so if you want your dog to sit on your lap, they would like nothing more than to do just that. You will need to groom their gorgeous coat each day though.
Pugs are charming and adaptable dogs that make sure their owner is happy with them. They are an affectionate dog breed and playtime is their favorite thing to do with their owner.
If you want a small dog that does not require a lot of exercise, go for a pug. They are natural shedders so be prepared, warmer climates will cause them to shed more.
When it comes to selecting the best guard dog for the elderly, no single breed comes to mind, as there are several that make great defenders. Once you have picked your favorite ones, do your research to narrow down your choices and then make your final decision.