6 Blissful Reasons for Dog Ownership in Retirement

Are there any benefits to dog ownership in retirement?

Today, Retired In USA is exploring why dog ownership in retirement is an absolute game-changer. Imagine it: golden years filled with furry companionship, tails wagging, and endless joy.

As you embark on this new chapter in your life, embracing the companionship of a faithful canine friend can unlock a pack of blissful experiences.

From the boundless love and unwavering loyalty of our four-legged buddies to the numerous health benefits they bring, there’s something genuinely magical about sharing your days with a woolly companion.

So, if you’re on the fence about welcoming a dog into your retired life, don’t worry! We’re here to highlight the countless rewards that come with dog ownership in retirement.

Let’s embark on this heartening journey together and discover 6 reasons why dogs truly make retirement all the more fulfilling.

Dog Ownership In Retirement
Photo by wavebreakmedia at Shutterstock

Dogs help with heart health

Dog ownership in retirement can have significant health benefits, particularly for your cardiovascular health.

For instance, in a study on blood pressure and dog ownership, 30 people with borderline hypertension were advised to adopt a dog from a local shelter immediately.

Months later, participants who adopted a furry companion experienced decreased blood pressure, unlike the people who chose to remain dogless. But, when those in the other group adopted dogs, their blood pressure also dropped.

Now, we’re not saying that dogs are a cure-all for cardiovascular health issues. But living with a canine companion can do your heart some good. Since pups can positively affect your health, you’ll also want to ensure their health is in tip-top shape.

Dogs foster a sense of social connection

Dog ownership in retirement can foster a stronger sense of community and social connection. If you’ve ever walked a friendly dog through a busy neighborhood, you know they make excellent icebreakers. Research even backs up this obvious truth.

One particular study discovered that walking a dog was the 3rd most common way people met their neighbors in a new area and that canine owners were 60% more likely than non-dog owners to meet new individuals.

Dogs also maintain support networks, which helps guard against loneliness, says the director of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute. This nonprofit organization gathers and funds research on the benefits of companion animals.

According to them, dogs facilitate and encourage social interaction. People you interact with socially become your support system. It’s easy to see how dogs bring people together when we stop to think about it.

Dog owners walking with their canines learn the names of the dogs and maybe even those of the humans in their neighborhood. Or the kids in the neighborhood want to see the dog, which is the perfect opportunity to meet the family next door.

Dogs motivate exercise

Dog ownership in retirement can be a big motivation for increased physical activity and exercise. In fact, a dog owner walking their beloved pet can log approximately 23,700 miles over a dog’s 12-year lifespan.

Of all the pets you could have, dogs appear most likely to impact the level of human physical activity positively, according to the American Heart Association, a scientific statement on pet ownership and cardiovascular risk.

In support of this, research on dogs and exercise led by BioMed Central discovered that dog owners, on average, walked 22 minutes more each day or 2760 additional steps a day compared to those who didn’t have a dog.

Dog Ownership In Retirement
Photo by SeventyFour at Shutterstock

Dogs add a healthy routine to retirement

Dog ownership in retirement can present a sense of routine and structure to daily life. When you retired, you probably enjoyed your newfound freedom.

But, at the same time, you may have found it challenging to adjust to the lack of structure that having a career provided. The good news is that canines are very routine-oriented and can help keep you on a schedule.

For instance, your pup might wake you up every morning at 7 am. You take him for a walk, then make coffee and watch the news. Your dog reminds you when it’s time for his afternoon snack, and he even begins barking when it’s time to go to bed.

You might welcome the sense of order your dog provides. It’s like he has a built-in clock in his brain!

Dogs provide loving companionship

Dog ownership in retirement offers emotional support and unparalleled companionship. After all, humans and canines have been together for over 18,000 years.

Dogs love to be close to their owners. Scientists call it “proximity seeking,” which is why they tend to always cuddle next to you on the couch, crawl all over your lap, or lie at your feet.

Pups also have an uncanny gift for picking up on and responding to signs from humans and can be trained to perform duties, like picking up dropped items or fetching your slippers.

And as a bonus: playing with your dog and training them can give you a mental workout, too, according to a family practice doctor and geriatrician in Texas.

You can also boost your brain power by playing puzzles with your dog. And besides mental stimulation, you can also get emotional benefits from your beloved pooch.

According to research by PLOS ONE, spending your time with canines can boost emotions and provide benefits related to attention, motivation, and socio-emotional functioning.

Dogs make the ideal travel companions

Dog ownership in retirement can enhance your travel experiences by providing loyal companionship on the road. Many seniors take advantage of their release from the 9 to 5 job by traveling more. And some become snowbirds, traveling south in the winter.

Because dogs are typically amenable to life on the go, you can take them with you when you travel. Small dogs can even accompany you on airplanes in the cabin if they’re in a carrier.

And traveling with dogs is now easier than ever due to an increase of pet-friendly lodgings and services. For instance, you can stay in dog-friendly hotels at your vacation destinations.

Once you arrive? You might find that your pup is inevitably socializing with hotel staff and fellow travelers.

Dog Ownership In Retirement
Photo by SeventyFour at Shutterstock

How to Choose the Best Dog for YOU

Now that we’ve covered the many advantages of dog ownership in retirement, it’s essential to find the right dog for you. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a dog:

Size: Dog ownership in retirement should be tailored to fit your living situation and lifestyle. Smaller dogs are easier to control and more suitable for seniors living in apartments, condos, or care facilities.

Small dogs won’t physically overpower you and can be easily washed in a sink. But remember that some try to make up for their small stature with lots of barking. Alternatively, calm larger dogs that don’t require much maintenance can be a good choice.

Temperament: When considering dog ownership in retirement, understanding the temperament of different breeds is vital. Dog temperaments are impacted by the genes they’re born with and the way they are trained.

Although any dog can be raised to be friendly, some are more naturally conditioned to be gentle and welcoming. Beagles, poodles, retrievers, and bulldogs usually have the best temperament.

But remember that every animal has a unique personality. Try to interact with any potential pet you’re considering to get a feel for how well-suited you are to each other.

Energy level: When considering dog ownership in retirement, it’s essential to consider the energy levels of different breeds. Some require more exercise than others.

If you’re pretty active, you can handle a dog that needs lots of playtime and running opportunities. But if you have mobility or stamina issues, choose a dog that’s content with a couple of short walks daily. Here’s our favorite leash from Amazon to help you out.

Age: Adopting an older dog can be a wise choice for seniors when considering dog ownership in retirement. They’re better for retirees to adopt than puppies that are super active and tend to nip and chew.

Adult dogs are generally already housetrained and well-socialized. They also tend to be the calmest, with more predictable behaviors. Besides that, it’s smart to consider the life expectancy of different dogs and how likely it is for your pet to outlive you.

While we understand that dog ownership in retirement is a big responsibility, we believe the benefits are well worth it. What do YOU think? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

In the meantime, Retired In USA has many mor fantastic reads. For instance, did you know about these 9 Genius Retiree Brain Health Tips That Boost Memory?


2 thoughts on “6 Blissful Reasons for Dog Ownership in Retirement”

  1. Dog ownership in retirement can be a joy, a pleasurable choice, or it can turn out to be a mistake for the dog, AND for you!! The life – emotional and physical – must be taken into effect before adoption. You may have the best intentions, but does everyone concerned prior to a final choice?
    We are senior citizens, disabled, and Dog Lovers/People!! Until recently, we had several dogs share our home with us. I broke my arm – bad break – and have not adopted since then. The dogs we had when my arm was broken were used to/adjusted to both of us being wheelchair-bound. Today, we have no pooches in our home. This situation is unbearable for us!! Currently, we are searching for a retirement village/home; a village that allows residents to have dogs. Yes, an older dog; yes, temperament is important; yes, size matters, too.
    Past adoptions have included small dogs (Cairn/Westie-sized), medium-sized dogs (Basset Hounds (adopted from a local shelter – pure breed – older & an adorable Wire-haired Fox Terrier…no one wanted her), and large-to-giant breed dogs (two Great Pyrenees, a Bouvier des Flanders — none of them were “high-priced” adoptions!! All needed a home + love, and we were there. Every single one had a temperament perfect for us; the small to large size was not a consideration nor was strength. Today? YES!!! We could not handle a large, strong, or stubborn dog!! All of the “luggage” the dog brings MUST be taken into consideration!!!
    I know – too much chatter… Just wanted to make matters clear. Thanks for the articles!!

  2. Thanks for this great article on dogs in retirement!! I am 85 yrs old, and my previous dog, an English Setter (as all my dogs these latter years have been), had to be euthanized just before Christmas ’23. I am now ready for a new “best friend” for all of the reasons you stated in the article! I am going to a kennels tomorrow to view a very definite possibility in the way of a pup, and am looking forward immensely to having four legged companionship once more! There is nothing good enough to compare this with, and people who do not understand it, are missing a tremendously good experience all round! I have been so grateful for ALL of my dogs, and the joy they have added to my life. Thanks for explaining things to the “uninitiated”! ‘sincerely,
    Valerie A. Jewell

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