A Pet for Your Elderly Parent—Things to Consider

Pets have been shown to not only make great companions, but possibly increase longevity and improve one’s quality of life as well. Research has shown that those who own a pet may even have a reduced risk of developing heart disease. They give their owners something to get up for and, for those that own dogs, the incentive to get out of the house and take a walk.

Elderly Care Perinton NY - A Pet for Your Elderly Parent—Things to Consider

Elderly Care Perinton NY – A Pet for Your Elderly Parent—Things to Consider

Before heading with your loved one to the nearest shelter, consider a few of these tips on how to make a good choice with your elderly parent.

Choosing a Pet

There are several important considerations in this area. Most elders are considering a cat or a dog and many have been either a “cat or dog” person their whole life, leaving this question already answered. If they are new to pet ownership, consider their ability to care for a pet. The biggest concern: a cat is very independent while a dog requires daily walks. If your parent has mobility issues that limit their ability to take neighborhood strolls, a cat may be the best bet. On the other hand, if their heart is set on a dog, neighborhood dog walkers are becoming increasingly common.

Size and Age

Though some may consider any dog that doesn’t come up to the knees more of a rodent than a lovable family member, smaller is often better for the elderly. And now to contradict, a well-trained large dog can be much easier to care for than a hyperactive ankle-bitter. Obtaining a dog that is three or older can bypass the demanding and needy puppy stage. They will also have a defined personality by this point, ensuring that your loved one knows what they are getting into.


If your parent is visited by grandchildren on a frequent basis, keep this in mind and choose a dog that is “kid friendly.” If they have a variety of people stopping by their home, make sure that the dog behaves well with strangers. Taking your loved one to the neighborhood shelter is often a good place to start as the mixed-breeds that you find there usually have less potential for psychological and physical issues than their purebred counterparts.

Types of Dogs

Some of the most popular breeds for the elderly are listed below:

Shih-Tzu. These darling doggies weigh in at about 10 to 19 pounds. They are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. They are often playful, but not crazy. Due to their long fur, they may need regular grooming or a close trim.

Maltese. While these long-haired dogs look like they would be a grooming nightmare, keeping them clipped short makes for an easy to care for dog that rarely sheds. They are known for being incredibly attentive companions and ones that will nestle down in their owner’s laps for hours on end.

Poodle. This breed is incredibly smart, which can be a blessing and a curse. They will require regular visits to the groomer if your parent wants them to have a “poodle cut.” A miniature poodle is a good size for the elderly and easy to train.

Elderly Care Provider

If your loved one needs assistance performing the everyday activities of living and caring for their new companion, consider obtaining the services of an elderly care provider.

Resources:  http://www.petsfortheelderly.org/research.html#5

If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Perinton NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.

About Kevin Watkins

Caring Hearts of Rochester was founded by John Hunt and Kevin Watkins. Kevin and John met when they were in the same Boy Scout Troop in their youth. They chose different career paths before forming Caring Hearts.

Kevin and his wife, Candy, lived in Naples, Florida for 10 years, where three of their four children were born. He was recruited to the insurance industry by a colleague who felt his personality would benefit people with needs. The insurance industry became a big part of their lives. He evaluated peoples’ risks, working with property and casualty, and life products, and later began to underwrite Long Term Care insurance as people were beginning to plan for their futures. He started two agencies, then bought a third. In his last three years before selling his third agency, he was ranked in the top 10%, top 5% & then top 1% nationally out of the more than 12,500 Allstate agencies in the U.S. at the time. Kevin’s success can be accredited to his kind nature and his genuine desire to help individuals and families with their needs. He feels very at home meeting with people and discussing their needs, a trait that has been very helpful in his continued success with Caring Hearts of Rochester. Kevin returned to Rochester in 2006 to introduce their young children to snow and to be closer to his extended family.

After having returned to Rochester from their careers in other states, John and Kevin reconnected. Alzheimer’s had afflicted both of their families, and they had both experienced and witnessed the challenges associated with the role of being a caregiver. Kevin’s and John’s collective experiences complemented their desire to work with families and individuals in need. They founded Caring Hearts of Rochester and have since been able work in a capacity that has become a passion for them. They are both Certified Senior Advisors (CSA), a designation earned through education, study and experience in the Elderly and Geriatric Care Profession. Their number one concern is providing their senior clients with ethical and effective services and products. Caring Hearts of Rochester is associated with numerous local affiliations for the elderly in the Upstate NY area including Lifespan, Eldersource, and the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly.

As the co-founders and hands-on managers of Caring Hearts of Rochester, we thank you for this opportunity to tell you about our passion. We are responsible for the services we offer, for the people we hire, for the training they receive, for the quality and reliability of the services our team delivers to you and your loved ones. Give us a call so that we may learn more about you and your needs at (585) 861-CARE(2273)