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Pet Ownership in Retirement

As a retiree, getting a pet may be one of the best decisions you could make. Pets that do not require a great deal of care are known to improve your overall mood, as well as provide you with years of loyal companionship. However, owning a pet is not an effortless endeavor. Whether you choose to get a dog or a cat, you will need to provide care for them, pay certain costs to keep them fed and healthy and make decisions for what you will do with them when you travel.


Some people think that the best dog breeds for seniors are all smaller dogs, but this is not necessarily true. Some smaller dog breeds require a lot of energy from you to keep them fit and active, while others are more docile. You should select a breed based on its energy level and overall temperament. Dog breeds that interact particular well with retirees include:

  • Pug

  • Maltese

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  • French Bulldog

Once you have chosen a couple of breeds that match your level of fitness and energy, you can look for a dog that interacts well with you. Take the time to investigate a few different dogs, asking about their health history and their personality.


Since cats tend to have similar behavior across breeds, finding a cat that is right for you depends on slightly different factors. The American Humane Association notes that cats are fairly self-sufficient creatures that also like to give and receive attention. You may be best suited for an adult cat that requires less constant care other than feeding, watering and changing the litter box. Like dogs, cats have different personalities. Before adopting, ask how the cat sleeps at night and how you should plan to protect your furniture from the cat needing to scratch to sharpen its claws.

Living With Pets

Living with a pet is not always easy. This is why many experts suggest that you only get a puppy or kitten if you have the motivation and energy to train your pet to show good behavior. As you prepare to go through the pet adoption process, make sure that your home is amenable to cats or dogs. If you rent, you should ask your landlord about restrictions on pets. Make a checklist of the things your pet may need, including:

  • adoption costs

  • yearly checkups and vaccinations

  • food

  • beds or bedding

  • toys

  • litterboxes (for cats)

  • scratching posts and climbers (for cats)

  • crate (for dogs)

Look at your budget to determine if you can reasonably afford them. Bear in mind that cats and dogs can live for 15-20 years. If you suspect you may move to another home or facility that will not allow you to bring your pet, ask a younger friend or family member to take them in when needed.

Pets and Travel

When you travel, you will need to plan for your pet to either come with you, remain at home in another’s care, or be placed in a professional kennel. Cats do not travel as well as dogs and do not need a great deal of attention at home, so it may be best for you to leave them at home with a friend or relative to come care for them once or twice a day. If you wish to travel with your dog, ask about accommodations for pets at the place you plan to stay. The American Kennel Club suggests that you bring a crate for your dog’s comfort and make sure your dog is in good health before you travel. When you want to leave your dog at home, you should consider a professional kennel or have a friend stay at your home while you are gone, so your dog gets plenty of attention and exercise.

Where to Adopt a Pet

Once you are ready to start the adoption process, you just need to find a pet near you. You can do this by visiting your local Humane Society, or visit one of many pet adoption websites. These websites include:

and many more. You may be expected to fill out forms with your information before you are allowed to adopt a pet.

Having a pet can be an excellent part of your retirement. With this advice, you will be ready to welcome a warm, furry friend into your home.


American Humane Association

American Kennel Club

#retirement #pet #animals #cat #dog




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