Whether you are a retired couple or a single senior there are a plethora of benefits that a Poodle can bring to the fall of your life. From encouraging a daily walk to take care of your fitness, to the companionship of a head on your lap during cold winter evenings.
Poodles make great pets for seniors. Owning a dog has many overall health benefits which include fewer occurrences of cardiovascular disease and enhanced physical and mental health. The Poodle’s smart and intuitive nature makes him an ideal companion for seniors and the elderly.
So, is the Poodle the best fit for the elderly owner, and can you still meet all their physical and mental needs when you are not as young as you once were? You bet you can, and in return, they can meet yours. Read on to discover what the benefits are of being an older Poodle parent.
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Why are Dogs Good for the Elderly?
There are many reasons that dogs are good pets for the elderly. Companionship is the most obvious benefit, but the advantages extend way beyond.
Whilst there are specifically trained assistance and therapy dogs your pet Poodle can be just as valuable for both your physical and overall mental well-being.
Whereas this can be applicable to the general population as a whole in many circumstances the elderly can be more vulnerable to physical and mental health decline and the presence of a four-legged friend can prove invaluable.
Research has shown that physically, dog owners benefit from improved exercise routines, lower instances of cardiovascular disease, and increased immunity. Notwithstanding the physical benefits to the senior Poodle owner, the advantages linked to overall mental well-being are huge.
Not only can the company of a dog help to reduce loneliness but research has shown that they can also reduce stress and anxiety, encourage a sense of purpose, lift depression and entice playfulness.
From companionship to aiding social interaction to supporting a healthy exercise regime, being a Poodle owner can ensure that you avoid becoming lonely and recluse which both pose a higher risk for those in their twilight years.
Is a Standard Poodle a Good Dog for Seniors?
Whilst some breeds of dog should be avoided. For example, those who need a hardy exercise schedule or large, powerful, strong breeds there are many who fit the bill as a perfect partner to the more senior members of society.
The Poodle is a perfect example, and he even comes in three different sizes. Each may be a better fit for different circumstances such as mobility, health, and the accommodation of the senior looking for a companion.
However, overall, and generically Poodles, can and do bring many benefits to the older owner.
Poodle Sizes – What Makes them Different?
All Poodles, aside from their size have the same breed standard when it comes to the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, there are some slight differences that have been reported when looking at their temperament.
The Standard Poodle is the largest of the Poodle family. Males will generally be taller and heavier than females and will measure over 15” at the withers. However, many can, and do grow as tall as 26”.
The male Standard Poodle will usually weigh between 60lbs and 70lbs while the female will be slightly less at around 40lbs to 50lbs. If you live in an apartment, a retirement home/village, or somewhere without access to an outside exercise area then the Standard Poodle may not be the best fit as a companion due to the space he needs to be comfortable or the restrictions of your landlords.
That said, if you are physically capable of meeting his exercise needs and there is an appropriate place for him to go potty then he can be adaptable.
The Standard Poodle is intuitive and, when properly trained can make an effective therapy dog for those with, amongst other issues, anxiety, and depression. His ability to tune into your feelings makes him an excellent companion if you are a single senior who finds yourself becoming lonely.
Not only does he make a loving companion but a great ice breaker to make new friends whilst out walking keeping both his and your mental and physical health needs looked after.
We don’t need to tell you that because of his size he is not considered a lap dog, so cozy nights with him curled up on your knee are not really on the cards. That said, Standard Poodles form strong bonds with their owners so we cannot guarantee he won’t try making himself comfortable on your lap!
The Miniature Poodle will be anywhere between 11” and 15” in height. Anything over 15” will be a Standard and anything under 11” is classified as a Toy.
The Miniature’s size on one hand may find him a better fit for apartment living but he does tend to be the most active of the three Poodle sizes. With this in mind, you will need to ensure that you can meet his exercise needs either yourself or with the help of a dog walker.
Taking care of his exercise needs yourself will help to keep you active but if you think that it may be just too much and are unable to afford or source outside help then the Standard or the Toy may be a better fit.
The Miniature Poodle is as smart as his Standard counterpart so you will find him just as easy to train and he’s just as perceptive. However, you may find that he also has an edge of mischief that you won’t necessarily see with the Standard or Toy.
He is a great family dog who will form a strong bond with his owner and whilst he will be friendly with regular visitors, especially grandchildren or great-grandchildren he may be aloof with strangers.
He too is prone to separation anxiety which makes the Miniature Poodle a good fit for either a retired couple or singleton as you can offer him the same companionship that he can offer to you.
The smallest of the bunch, the Toy Poodle will stand less than 11” at the shoulder. You may find that he barks slightly more often than his larger cousins, but this will usually be to alert you to any visitors. He sure is a good watchdog. That said, should his barking be excessive he is clever enough to be trained to know when the right time is and when isn’t.
Whilst the Miniature Poodle is the perfect match if you have regular visits from Grandchildren the Toy, being on the smaller side, is at risk from any rambunctious members of your family.
Again, he is as smart as his bigger counterparts so he should be easy to train, and his size means that he’s just right to curl up in your lap on those cold winter evenings. He’s the perfect best friend.
Are Poodles Good Company for Retired Adults?
Yes, Poodles are great company for any age, and this includes those who are retired. We guess the alternative question should be “Are Retired Adults Good Company for Poodles?” The Poodle is a sociable dog and therefore those who no longer need to go out to work can offer him more one on one time without having to employ the services of a dog walker or doggy daycare.
The time that a retired adult should have to spend with their Poodle will help to embrace the bond between human and K9. This will not only prevent separation anxiety in the Poodle, which they can be prone to but deter any feelings of solitude for the owner.
Can Poodles Live in Apartments or Retirement Homes?
With many seniors living in apartments or retirement homes, asking the question as to whether a Poodle will suit your living accommodation is an important one. We have already touched a little on the type of homes that Poodles need to benefit them the most but let’s delve a little deeper.
We’re going to start by assuming that your apartment complex allows dogs in the first place. However, there is a difference between them allowing you to keep a K9 friend and actually being geared up as dog friendly.
Some complexes will offer a range of amenities that are tailored toward dogs and their owners. These include:
- Dog-friendly spaces including parks and runs
- Doggy Spas
- On-Site Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services
- Pet Concierge Services
Many, or all of the above will make living in an apartment with your Poodle much more stress free and you can be reassured that his exercise needs are going to be met.
Make sure you triple-check your lease for terms and conditions relating to owning a dog within your complex.
Retirement homes are similar to apartment complexes in that some will allow you to keep pets whereas some won’t.
Making the decision to move into a retirement village or assisted living will be a huge change. If you have a pet whom you don’t want to rehome or wish for a new one to join you in your new home, then you will need to research where will allow you to keep them.
There will be conditions attached to keeping dogs and breed is likely to be one of them so ensure that you read all the fine print before you make any decisions. It is likely that a Miniature or Toy Poodle would be preferable to a Standard in this scenario.
You will need to be able to take care of your Poodle yourself should you take one to live with you in a retirement village. However, if you are physically unable to do so it would be worth speaking to each complex to find out if they have visiting therapy dogs.
Should a 70-Year-Old Get a Dog?
There are many benefits to getting a dog, even at the grand age of 70. Dogs are known to lower anxieties and depression alongside helping to maintain a healthy exercise routine.
However, you need to ensure that your living accommodation is the correct fit. It is important that you are also able to take care of all their needs, both mental and physical. If there are areas that you cannot facilitate yourself, you need to guarantee that you can employ the help of others who consistently can. For example a dog walker or doggy daycare.
What is the Lowest Maintenance Dog?
Dachshunds, Pugs, and Chihuahuas are all low-maintenance lap dogs who require a low-level exercise routine, little grooming, are easily trained, and are not known to suffer from separation anxiety.
Remarkably the Greyhound also fits the low-level maintenance brief for owning a dog. Despite their appearance on the race track they are built for speed and not stamina and are happy to be left alone for a few hours.
A couple of 30-minute walks a day will be enough to meet the physical needs of the breeds mentioned although they will still need playtime and plenty of enrichment toys to keep their minds active.