Different pets require different degrees of energy, activity and resources. Some pets are ideal for active people, and some, on the contrary, do not like too much stress, so they will get along well with a sedentary or too busy owner.
Elderly people often look for pets that would not only become reliable companions, but also fit into the rhythm of life and budget. Experts say that there is a list of criteria that will help choose the perfect pet for an elderly couple or single retiree: care should not be too troublesome, the pet’s temperament should be calm, and the costs should be moderate. You might think that the circle is narrowed to cats and small dogs, but there are many more options. Although there is no denying that it is the dog or cat that most often becomes the choice of older people, and there are many reasons for this.
Many seniors like the idea of getting a doggie, but they know if they can physically handle an active large pet. That’s why small dogs like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Shih Tzu or Maltese Bologna make great companions for seniors.
Spaniels are affectionate, good-natured and require little care compared to some other dog breeds. Shih tzus are adorable, lovable dogs that are perfect for the elderly. The Maltese Bologna, though small in size, has good stamina. The doggie will happily accompany the owner or mistress on a walk.
A mongrel friend is not a bad idea. Mongrel dogs are usually healthy, unpretentious in food, rarely get sick and do not require long walks. In addition, many mongrels are comfortable with cats, especially those with whom they grew up together.
Cats are great companions for seniors who don’t feel they could arrange a dog walk, but really want a companion animal. Short-haired cats are a great choice for many seniors because they are extremely easy to care for. Long-haired cats will require a bit more work, as they need to be brushed or cared for with special products.
Cats are fairly quiet animals compared to dogs. But they make some noises and rustles that relieve a person, especially a lonely one, from a feeling of oppressive silence. Independent and unobtrusive, cats are ideal for people who do not like too close contact, and at the same time want to feel that there is a living creature nearby.
It’s not just a dog or cat that can be a friend to an elderly person. Why not consider fish – colorful, nimble and bright, yet unpretentious?
While a large aquarium may not be the best idea for seniors (unless they hire maintenance professionals), most people can easily manage with a small tank.
There are two options: a flock of unpretentious fish or a large single fish. For the first option, viviparous carps are ideal: guppies, mollinesias, swordfish. Unpretentious in the contents of the labyrinth: neons, danio rerio. Complement the fish family can be a couple of catfish, a few snails, a company of cherry shrimp. Plants such as wallisneria and kabomba, will decorate the aquarium, will create shady areas, but do not require special knowledge and a lot of effort.
For solo keeping, a goldfish, telescope or roosterfish will be suitable. These are beautiful fish with interesting behavior, which many people like to watch.
Special lighting, filters and regular feeding will be needed, but once everything is set up, care of the fish is minimal, especially with automatic feeders.
Reptiles are not usually considered pets that are suitable for older people. But the leopard gecko is a wonderful exception. People who suffer from fur allergies, for example, should consider such a pet.
Leopard geckos are suitable for older owners due to their small size, low noise level, and ease of care and maintenance. Once the terrarium is equipped with proper lighting and accessories, maintenance is kept to a minimum. Leopard geckos do not need to be fed daily, and they live much longer than fish, so you don’t have to constantly replace one pet with another.
Some other delicate reptiles, such as bearded dragons, require much more space and freshly cooked food daily. Leopard geckos are content with a 20-liter tank and eat purchased ready-made food, which includes mealworms and crickets.
Watching these animals is interesting. And you can’t call a gecko a mediocre pet, making it a great option for people who like anything unusual.
Many people know that these animals are sociable and kind, and sometimes do funny things. There are a huge number of breeds and subspecies, and there are several factors to consider when choosing a pet for an older person.
It is unlikely that you should give preference to show-class animals. Taking care of the coat will require effort and considerable expenditure on luxury food. It is better to give preference to the most ordinary animals with medium-length fur. By the way, there are also bald guinea pigs that are great for allergy sufferers.
It is better to keep the cage rather than a terrarium. Air circulation is necessary for both pet comfort and to maintain cleanliness. Guinea pig can be taken in hands, and most animals show their feelings towards humans by active communication. It is better to accustom shy animals to contacts gradually. But free walking around the apartment is contraindicated: even if your pet seems very smart, it can get carried away and spoil things.
Another wonderful option for the elderly owner is a snail. Achatines have gained a lot of popularity lately, and they owe it not only to their beauty, but also to their unpretentiousness. This is an ideal pet for those who are not ready for painstaking care.
The snail can even hibernate for a few days if the owner, for example, is away on business. When the pet returns, you just need to take it in your hands and hold it under running water. The snail will wake up and react happily to the water.
Achateens are dry-blooded, but they love to bathe. In the heat they sometimes need to be sprayed with a sprayer. They are not picky about food: they like fresh vegetables, fruits, dandelion and knotweed leaves, berries.
A pleasant bonus, or rather a huge plus, for which many breed achatines, is their healing mucus. It promotes regeneration processes, helps to heal cuts and abrasions, rejuvenate the skin.
A pair of achatines can give offspring, but if the owner does not plan to breed snails for sale, it is better to get rid of the eggs. There is no need to throw it away – it is a valuable product, which is considered a delicacy in many countries. In restaurants in Europe, it is usually called the “pearl of Aphrodite” or the “forest pearl.
A large parrot can be a great friend and companion, always ready to communicate and play. But there is one problem – the cost of such birds is usually very high.
Wavy parrots and cockatiels are also well suited for the elderly bird lover, but only if the person does not interfere with the chirping.
A good option is considered siskins or canaries – nimble birds that can not only delight the eye, but also caress the ear with their singing.
It is important for the owner to be careful when feeding and cleaning the cage so that the bird does not fly out.
Most ornamental birds are perfectly content with ready-made food mixes, which have all the necessary complex vitamins. The price of such food is usually inexpensive, the cost is much lower than, for example, the cost of luxury food for pedigree dogs. And the bird consumes very little grain food. In general, care is not complicated and the bird can become a good friend for someone who is not ready to walk and take care of hair: a parrot or a canary doesn’t need anything like that.