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A Different Kind of Dog Day: How Pets Can Help You 'Age in Place'

How to Choose the Best Pet for You

There are several things to consider when choosing the pet to accompany you though your golden years. Begin by considering which breed of animal you can handle. Dogs and cats come to mind first, but birds may be a better choice. You might believe that a reptile or amphibian would be low maintenance and very quiet, but keep in mind that turtles, iguanas, snakes and geckos are known carriers of salmonella – a risk if you have a compromised immune system.

When choosing a dog or cat, consider its size in relation to your living space, the amount of barking or meowing you are able to put up with, the amount of grooming and or shedding you can handle, the personality type you are looking for and your expense account.  Dogs need exercise (the amount depend on breed and energy level, not necessarily size), and most need to use the “outside facilities” a number of times each day. So decide whether you will need to simply open a door to let out your dog versus your needing to walk, run, or play vigorously.

Gina Spadafori, a prolific author of pet books including the “For Dummies” series, recommends getting an adult dog so you will have a better idea of its temperament and health history. She notes that breed mixes, often found in shelters and through rescue groups “may often have fewer health problems than their purebred counterparts.”

Pets the Experts Recommend

  • Poodle or poodle mixes because they're personable, easily trained, and relatively low shedding
  • Boston terriers and pugs because they're companion dogs that don’t need a lot of activity
  • Maltese and Chihuahuas because they don’t take up much room
  • Cat breeds like Russian Blue, Ragdoll and Persians, which don't require a lot of maintenance
  • Canaries and finches because these popular birds are easy to care for
Last Updated:6/20/2014
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Date: 10.12.2018, 16:23 / Views: 82433