Which type of pet is right for elderly relatives?

Discussion about whether dogs or cats are better pets for elderly people with limited mobility.

4/21/20232 min read

a person holding a kitten
a person holding a kitten

Pets can bring a lot of joy and companionship to the lives of elderly people. However, when it comes to choosing a pet for an elderly person with limited mobility, it is important to consider which animal would be the best fit. While both cats and dogs can make great companions, there are a few factors to consider before making a decision.

For elderly people with limited mobility, cats may be the better option. Unlike dogs, cats do not require regular walks or outdoor exercise. They are happy to curl up on a lap or in a cozy bed and spend most of their time indoors. This makes them ideal for elderly people who may not be able to take their pets for regular walks or engage in strenuous activities. Additionally, cats are generally more independent than dogs and do not require as much attention or training.

That being said, dogs can still make great companions for elderly people with limited mobility. There are many breeds of dogs that are smaller in size and do not require as much exercise as larger breeds. Some examples of smaller dog breeds that may be good for elderly people include pugs, chihuahuas, and toy poodles. These dogs can be trained to do their business indoors or in a designated area, eliminating the need for regular outdoor walks. Additionally, dogs can be trained to perform tasks such as opening doors or fetching items, which can be helpful for elderly people who have limited mobility.

Ultimately, the decision to get a cat or a dog for an elderly person with limited mobility will depend on a variety of factors, including the person's lifestyle, personality, and preferences. It is important to consider the amount of time and attention the pet will require, as well as any potential health concerns that may arise.

Regardless of whether a person chooses a cat or a dog, pets can provide numerous benefits for elderly people with limited mobility. Pets can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, provide a sense of purpose and responsibility, and even improve physical health. Studies have shown that pet ownership can lead to lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and increased physical activity.

In addition to the physical and emotional benefits, pets can also provide elderly people with a sense of security and safety. Dogs in particular can be trained to act as watch dogs, alerting their owners to any potential dangers or intruders. This can be especially comforting for elderly people who live alone and may be vulnerable to break-ins or other safety concerns.

When considering getting a pet for an elderly person with limited mobility, it is important to take the time to carefully evaluate the person's needs and preferences. By doing so, you can help to ensure that the pet is a good fit and will provide the person with years of companionship, joy, and love.