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The Best Dogs for Seniors Living in an Apartment

Dog owners already know the powerful connection people have with dogs. Known as “man’s best friend” (and also woman’s) since 1870 when lawyer George Graham Vest defended a man who deeply loved his coon hound, famously stated, “The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world-the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous-is his dog.” Dogs come in a variety of breeds, sizes, and temperaments, and choosing the best dogs for seniors living in smaller homes or apartments is an important decision. 

Consider These Before Choosing Your Dog

K9 of Mine, a website that supports dog owners with resources and helps owners care for their dogs in the best way possible, suggests you consider these factors before choosing your companion. 

Level of Energy: Living in a senior apartment means your dog may not have as much room to play and run around. Lower energy dogs are happy to be lap dogs and often only need to go outside two times a day. This keeps their care manageable but also contributes to a healthy lifestyle. They are content to give unconditional love cuddling up with you while reading a book or sitting with friends.

Convenient Size: While many seniors are comfortable and happy with larger dogs. If you are a first-time dog owner, a smaller dog will be much more manageable. Big dogs, unless impeccably trained, can be very strong and can jump up or pull unintentionally. Smaller dogs don’t have the power to knock you down if they jump up and they are easily transported either in your arms or a carrier bag on short trips and visits to the vet. 

Puppy or Adult? Everyone loves a puppy but puppies can be difficult to handle while teething and in the early stages of training. Their teeth can cause damage to delicate senior skin and they may even break the skin unintentionally which could lead to other complications. Adopting an older dog has many benefits. They are house trained, have stopped chewing, and will be grateful to have a home. Be sure you have a clear picture of their health before adopting as they may be prone to more medical issues and vet fees are often expensive. 

The Best Dogs for Seniors

While it can seem overwhelming to sort through the multiple breeds and personalities of smaller dogs, some breeds are the best dogs for seniors living in apartments. Ideally, you should choose a dog that has low energy, is easy to groom, doesn’t require too much walking, and will be happy to be your companion.

Nylabone picked their top ten best dogs for seniors to get you started.

  1. Shih Tzu – Affectionate, low shedding but do require daily brushing and may need to go to a groomer. Happy to go on walks or be a lap dog.
  2. Pug – Loves taking naps and due to their flat face and small nostrils, they often snore. Their short coat makes them easy to groom but they do shed heavily. Love short walks and indoor or outdoor play sessions but are happy to chill out at home.
  3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi – Has a great personality and requires more walking than other small dogs. It has a double coat which requires daily brushing and does shed. This dog is a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II who has owned more than 30 throughout her reign.
  4. Poodle – They come in 3 sizes – toy, miniature, and standard. Low shedding and hypoallergenic but do need to go to a groomer every month or so. They are energetic and love being pampered.
  5. French Bulldog “Frenchie” – Playful and great personalities, they have short coats and don’t shed often. They don’t need much exercise so are happily joining their owner on errands or short walks. 
  6. Miniature Schnauzer – While low shedding and hypoallergenic they do need to go to the groomers regularly. They have a strong outgoing personality and are protective of their owners. Loves daily exercise – more energy than most.
  7. Greyhound – Great for seniors who like bigger dogs, greyhounds are gentle and quiet. They are low maintenance coats that need minimal brushing and while they are known to be sprinters when out exercising they love to nap when back inside. 
  8. Maltese – Don’t let their looks fool you, these cute white dogs are fearless. They need minimal walking but their coat needs daily brushing and visits to a groomer. 
  9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Laidback, these dogs quickly make friends and are easily trained. Their coat does need regular brushing and they love brisk walks and playtime but are also content to sit on the sofa. 
  10. Pekingese – Earning the reputation of an ultimate lapdog, they have great personalities, are loyal and affectionate. They have a double coat that sheds seasonally which needs daily attention to prevent matting. Satisfied with short walks and playtime.

The Benefit of Being a Dog Owner

If you have not been a dog owner before, it is hard to imagine how this furry creature can bring so much joy and companionship to your life. Owning a dog also contributes to increased physical activity, reduces stress, and even gives you a better heart. This Market Watch article highlighted a Mayo Clinic study that discovered that out of the 1,800 heart-healthy people they studied, 42% owned a dog. It was likely the habits they had developed caring for their dog, including walking more frequently contributed to better heart and overall health.

Dogs also help ease the pain of their owners. How? They help their owners take their minds off the pain and focus on petting them or caring for them instead. The journal Science reported that looking into the eyes of their dog for a least five minutes provides a boost of the oxytocin hormone in the brain. Dogs help seniors stick to a routine and reduce stress. They automatically create a schedule for seniors as they need to go out, be fed, groomed, and given affection. 

We welcome dogs at Maplewood Senior Living and they are important additions to our communities. Not only do they help their owners but the social interaction with other residents improves lives for everyone who comes in contact with them. To find out more about bringing your dog to one of our communities, contact us today.

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