The benefits of getting
a dog later in life
For older people who need a boost in life, a new canine companion can provide a combination of friendship, exercise and care.
Retirement is a time when you can put up your feet, relax and enjoy the finer things in life. But if you’re looking for a little boost to your health and happiness, you might consider getting a dog.
The support of a new furry friend can improve your wellbeing, provide a sense of companionship and give some much-needed structure to your day. From feeding time and walkies to afternoon cuddles on the sofa, there’ll always be something to keep you both busy.
Retirement is the perfect time to get a dog
Research suggests that having a pet will also increase your focus and sense of purpose in life, giving you a loyal friend who will depend on your love and attention. In return, your dog will always be there for you, providing reassurance, comfort and protection when you need it most. It’s often said that a problem shared is a problem halved, and soon your long-standing frustrations will feel like a thing of the past.
Retirement is the perfect time to get a dog. Free from the constraints of a busy working lifestyle, you can give your new canine companion plenty of time and attention. But while age shouldn’t be a barrier to having a pet, it’s important to choose the right breed to suit your way of life.
Finding the right dog to suit your lifestyle
Some breeds are calmer and more family orientated, which is important if you have young people coming to visit. Family members or neighbours might be able to help with dog sitting if you’re going away on holiday or need to pop into hospital. However, if you’re struggling for support from loved ones, animal charities such as Dogs Trust and The Cinnamon Trust have schemes that will provide expert assistance whenever you need it.
Some dogs are more energetic than others, so you’ll want to find a breed that suits your pace of life. Think about how much regular daily exercise you’re willing to commit to, before making any decisions. Would you rather lengthy walks in the countryside or lazy afternoons on the sofa? Perhaps you want a combination of both. You’ll probably need a bit more energy if you get a puppy, which will require toilet training and plenty of playtime. An older dog is less likely to bother you with bad habits such as chewing, biting and jumping up.
Different breeds prefer different environments, so it’s important to take into account where you live. A big dog that’s suitable for a spacious country cottage may not be right for a cosy retirement apartment. Furthermore, some landlords and sheltered houses have specific rules about pets, so it’s best to find out what they are before you make any decisions.
If you’re having to watch your finances in later life, it’s worth bearing in mind that the costs involved with a smaller dog are less than those associated with a larger one. These costs include feeding, worming, veterinary care and boarding.
An older pet will probably require reduced initial financial costs, as neutering, initial vaccinations and worming should already have been performed. However, you should balance this with the fact that an older pet may have or develop health issues, which will carry an emotional and financial burden.
If you enjoy holidays or trips away from home, consider whether you’ll be able to take your dog with you. As an alternative to pet sitting or kennels, you could look for pet-friendly holiday accommodation, therefore removing the stress and worry of leaving your pet behind. There are plenty of books and websites that cover these types of holidays.
John Lewis Finance and John Lewis Insurance are trading names of John Lewis plc. The John Lewis Registered office address is: 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN. Registered in England and Wales no. 233462. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative (Financial Conduct Authority number 416011) of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323).