Seniors for Seniors Dog Adoption

By Daniela Lopez

Senior dog walking along dock
Samantha Gehrmann / Stocksy
Unconditional love from a companion pet is something that everyone can relish. Dogs, in particular, can be the perfect companions for seniors, offering unwavering loyalty, boundless joy, and that special brand of unconditional love. These qualities are especially meaningful because pets don’t see wrinkles or physical limitations; they simply see someone to adore and who adores them in return.

For senior citizens, a pet’s devotion and affection can contribute to increased happiness and even better health. Medical professionals who work with seniors have long recognized the benefits that a pet can bring to the lives of elderly individuals. Read up on the advantages of adopting a pet through senior-for-senior rescue programs and learn how to select the right dog.

What is a seniors for seniors dog adoption?

Senior-for-senior dog adoption programs are designed to encourage older adults, typically aged 60 or older, to adopt senior pets, aged 7 years or older. These adoption campaigns create a mutually beneficial relationship for both seniors and senior pets. While the specifics of each program vary depending on the rescue or shelter running it, some offer reduced or waived adoption fees to make adopting a senior pet more accessible to seniors. Pairing a senior dog with a senior citizen makes picking a dog more straightforward because pet parents can assess their temperament and energy level, and often they’re already trained.

Benefits for seniors

  • Provide independence: A dog offers a sense of well-being and independence, helping to prevent stress, depression, and loneliness through the routine needed to care for them.
  • Give people a purpose: Being responsible for another living creature can add new meaning and purpose to a senior’s life.
  • Improve mental health: Caring for a dog with activities such as feeding, grooming, and walking helps people stay active mentally, and thus enhances and increases the quality of their life.
  • Improve physical health: Numerous clinical studies verify that having a pet can benefit a human’s physical health. For senior people that results in lower blood pressure, decreased stress, reduction in bone loss, lower cholesterol levels, and improved blood circulation.

Benefits for the dog

  • Increased adoption rates: Senior dogs are less likely to be adopted, so you’re giving them a second chance at life.
  • Love and companionship: Senior dogs are eternally thankful for finding a loving home and will be forever devoted.
  • Improved lifestyle: Senior dogs don’t require as much exercise; they’re happy to just hang out at home with someone who loves them.
  • Longer lifespan: Stuck in a shelter with hard floors and little attention, senior dogs languish. But with a loving companion they can bond with, senior dogs can thrive.

Why are seniors dogs a good match for older adults?

Many senior citizens are looking for companionship and social interaction. And senior dogs, with their calmer and more relaxed nature, can provide excellent companionship without the activity a younger dog might require. Senior dogs tend to have lower energy levels and exercise requirements, which can be a good match for older adults. While senior dogs still enjoy playing (which can help a person be more active) they are generally just less demanding in their needs. Senior dogs can also provide an overall calming presence which can provide a boost to anyone’s emotional wellbeing.

What rescues offer senior for senior dog adoption programs?

  • Paws / WA: PAWS is a champion for animals — adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people.
  • North Shore Animal League / NY: North Shore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.
  • Furry Friends Rescue / CA: Furry Friends is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing, fostering, and finding homes for companion animals.

How long do senior dogs live?

Unlike a puppy who needs a lot of care, training, and attention for 15 to 25 years, a senior dog may live for only half as long. Depending on their age at adoption, a senior dog may only live another three to 10 years.

Helping seniors keep their pets

Many shelters and rescues also offer discounted services such as training, vet care, vaccinations, and even food. Meals on Wheels for pet programs are also available in some areas of the country. If you are in need of assistance or know someone who is find out what local programs exist in your area.

Choosing the best dog for seniors

Adopting the right kind of dog can improve a senior person’s life. People of all ages should understand that caring for a pet comes with responsibilities, commitment, and time, as well as physical and financial requirements — for senior people, these can be a bit different. Before acquiring a new pet, have a financial plan in place that will assure the care of your dog if you are temporarily or permanently unable to provide full or partial care of your pet.

Look for dogs more suitable for seniors such as smaller breeds, calmer dogs, and those that require less grooming. Start your search on Adopt a Pet.


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About the Author: Tony Ramos

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