Seniors Can Benefit from Dog Adoption

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There’s no question that having a pet dog can be great therapy for some seniors. The benefits are well-documented. They include:

* Reduced feelings of stress * Lower blood pressure * Reduced cardiovascular disease * Lower cholesterol levels * improved overall health means fewer doctor appointments * Reduced sense of loneliness * Increased sense of responsibility and alertness * Increased activity during the day * Increased fun and enjoyment of lifeSounds great, doesn’t it? But before you rush out and adopt a pooch, make sure you are making the right adoption decision.Things to Consider About Dog Adoption for Seniors* Don’t surprise anyone with pet adoption. Ever. No matter how wonderful the animal is, pet ownership is a big responsibility. The American Humane Society encourages people not to purchase animals as a surprise, so discuss dog adoption and ownership with the senior before you acquire the animal.* Let the person choose their own dog. You may love Beagles, but your grandmother might want a quieter dog. And while your grandfather says he would love to have a Collie, perhaps grooming a long-haired dog isn't what he had in mind. Dog adoption is sort of like dating...there has to be the right chemistry or it won’t work.* Consider the senior's activity level and lifestyle. Does the older person enjoy going for walks? If not, then an active dog might not be a good choice. This is another reason to discuss dog ownership before deciding to adopt.* Consider a mature dog. An older dog is likely to be calmer, which may be a good fit for a senior. Check out your local Humane Society, animal shelter or rescue group for wonderful, loving and more mature companions.* Consider the senior’s health. Having a larger dog requires more physical strength and agility to handle it, so talk about which type and size of dog would result in the most successful adoption.* Who will care for the dog if its owner gets sick? Be prepared for this by making a plan for someone to care for the

animal if the owner becomes incapacitated.

* Can the senior afford food and veterinary care? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has calculated the following average annual costs of pet adoption, including food, toys, treats, medical care and licensing, if required:

* Small dog: $575
* Medium-sized dog: $620
* Large dog: $780

And don’t forget that additional supplies like dog crates, dog beds, and training can add an additional $75 to $400.

These are average costs for dog adoptions, but pet owners will tell you that the costs can go much higher if there are unexpected medical problems…or if you like to buy exotic toys for your best friend. Make sure the new owner can afford to care for the animal, or make additional arrangement to help pay for dog care.

Senior and Pet Adoption: Consider All of the Options

Seniors and dogs can make a great combination, but adoption brings big responsibilities along with the joy. To find the best fit, make sure you consider all of the options before making a decision about adopting a dog.

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