Whether your preference is for a cat, a dog, a bird, or a furry little rodent, it has been proven that owning a pet just seems to make life better. When people approach the final seasons of life, it is pleasant to have an animal companion to spend the days and long evenings with.  Not only do pets brighten the spirits, but they can be a great comfort to those around them. If you are in the market for a solid and reliable pet for your grandparents, parents, or for yourself, here are some of the best pets for the elderly.

Canine Companions

Owning a dog might not seem like a responsibility that older people want to be saddled with toward the end of their lives,  but some dog breeds are much easier to care for than you might expect. Here are some dog breeds that are most well-suited to senior citizens.

  • Golden Retriever: Of all the dog breeds, the Golden Retriever is arguably the best companion pet there is. Where you are convalescing from an illness, in need of a guide dog, therapy dog, or service animal, there is a reason why the Golden Retriever is a long-time favorite. They are patient, calming, loyal and protective of their families. Though they do need daily walks, they are the perfect pet for an older individual who is looking for a gentle, even-tempered, intelligent pet.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Once the preferred breed for British royals, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a born lap-pup who enjoys being stroked, petted and cuddled by their owners. They prefer to have company constantly, which older people are more likely to provide, giving these dogs a contented existence and their pet owners the faithful, sweet-tempered dog they desire.
  • Bichon Frise: There is no mystery as to why these little snowy balls of fluff are beloved pets for senior citizens. Bichon Frises are playful and endearing without having an overwhelming abundance of energy. They have nearly hypoallergenic coats, which helps those who have respiratory problems or allergies. Though these pups do need grooming from time to time, their affectionate personalities and small size make them the ideal pet.
  • Greyhound: These quiet dogs are gentle spirited, patient and quieter companions compared to other breeds. Choosing a senior Greyhound (or even a retired racer) would be a great companion for an older couple or individual because of their undemanding and steady presence. Other good breeds for the elderly: Pugs, Chihuahuas, Cocker Spaniels, etc.

Feline Companions

Cats are more independent than dogs, and require less clean up or maintenance, since the majority of their grooming is self-provided. Though someone might not consider themselves a “cat person” opting for a feline over a canine might prove the right choice for people who would like some company around the house, without wanting to commit to the aspects of more involving pet care.

  • Persians: These kitties enjoy leisurely time spent indoors with their families, lounging on pillows, or any available lap there might be.  They are much less active than other breeds, and as long as they have company and comfort, they stay pretty content over all.
  • Ragdolls: This breed is known for being docile, while staying playful and fun. They do not need long hours of games, training, or outdoor walks, but can stay happily occupied with a few pet toys and some hands-on time with their pet owner. Like the Persian, Ragdoll cats are not as “talkative” as other breeds, and their silky hair seldom gets matted.
  • Russian Blue: These cats have the same personality traits that dogs are well known for, in that they love following their owner from room to room, greeting them at the door when they arrive home, and always seems interested in whatever the person is doing. Their faces naturally look as if they are smiling, and though they do need time to play with their owners, the Russian Blue would be a low-key kind of pet for an elderly couple.
  • Other options: Some birds make charming house mates for older people, because of their chipper chirping, and the lack of attention they require in up-keep and cleaning.  Parakeets, Lovebirds, Finches, Cockatiels and Doves are some of the birds that make pleasant pets.