Should Seniors Have Pets? Questions to Ask

The benefits of pet ownership are numerous and well-known. Seniors especially are often encouraged to keep pets as they are an excellent way of staying active and social, and help prevent loneliness, depression, and stress. Pet ownership is even correlated with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and fewer doctor visits. But is it right for you? Below you’ll find some questions to ask yourself before making the decision to adopt a furry friend.


Are you physically able to care for a pet?

Do you have limited mobility?  Is your vision or hearing impairment? Would you be able to keep up with an energetic puppy or kitten? Though excellent companions, pets are sometimes an injury risk. Young pets especially can quickly get under your feet, and dogs who have not yet been leash trained can try to take the lead when out for walks. Cats, though require less maintenance than dogs, require frequent cleanup. Make sure that you have the physical ability to meet the needs of any pet you’re considering.


Do you have any allergies?

Though adopting a pet would not be recommended for anyone with animal allergies, those with other allergies should also be cautious if they are severe. Any animals coming in from the outdoors can bring pollen and dust in on their fur and spread it around the house. For anyone with respiratory conditions plus allergies, this could be a potential problem.


Can you afford a pet?

From goldfish to Great Danes, any pet will require some amount of money to maintain. Older rescue pets are likely to incur the most costs as they will probably require more trips to the vet and maybe even medications. Are you prepared to handle these costs? Do your research beforehand to get an idea of how much it will cost to care for the kind of pet you’re considering.


What kind of pet is right for you?

Though a new puppy or kitten may not be the best choice for everyone, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a pet at all. A quieter or lower-maintenance pet may be a more suitable option. Rabbits and birds make excellent companions and are often easier to care for. In addition, if you are prone to allergies, some breeds of animals are less allergenic than others.


What might happen if you could no longer care for your pet?

In the unfortunate event that you were no longer able to care for your pet, is there someone who could look after it for you? Even though moving to a new home is often a stressful adjustment for a pet, it’s important to consider the likelihood of this before bringing a new pet into your home.


Though the benefits of pet ownership often outweigh the costs, both physical and financial, this is not always the case. For some individuals, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Only you can know if it really is the best choice for you. Carefully consider the above questions before adopting a new friend so that both you and a potential pet can benefit.