How to Choose the Right Dog for Retirement

March 24, 2016

By Laurie Darroch

The relaxed lifestyle of retirement can be a great time to adopt a dog. You’ll have more time to devote to playing with them and enjoying exciting new adventures together. Consider these points to help you choose the right dog for you and your retirement lifestyle.


If you’re planning on doing lots of traveling during your retirement years, keep this in mind when you choose a dog. Finding lodging that accepts both you and your dog will require more advance planning, since not all hotels and motels allow dogs. Also, if you are renting a place for an extended trip, they may have rules concerning dogs. You will need to do your research ahead of time to make sure the dog is allowed wherever you are going. Be sure to research boarding facilities and petsitters too, in case there will be trips where you aren’t able to bring the dog along.

A well behaved dog will be a better travel companion than one who has not had much training. If your dog doesn’t already know and follow the basic commands, be sure to invest time in training them prior to traveling. Dogs will adapt to travel, but having a dog along on a trip adds another level of attention. Dogs have certain needs and requirements which need to be addressed on any trip. They add work to your travels, but a dog that is a good match also adds enrichment to your wanderings.

Home Size and Location

If you plan on moving to a new place for retirement, there are things to consider for your canine companion. The size of your home, whether it has an outdoor area for a dog and is a safe neighborhood for walking and outdoor activities, all matter when choosing a dog to join your family. If your retirement home is on the small side, then a small breed dog may be a better fit than a large breed. If you’re moving to a retirement community, make sure dogs are welcome before you adopt.

 Type, Size and Age of Dog

The type, size and age of your canine companion are all considerations when you are selecting a dog. A large dog may require more space, more range to exercise in, and more attention than a small one does. Smaller dogs are easier to travel with, accommodate and do daily activities with than a larger dog.

A puppy needs training and constant attention. An older dog is more likely to be settled, trained, have lower energy and be less frenetic overall than a puppy or a young dog. You may love raising puppies, but consider their higher demands before you choose a young dog as a companion. You may not have the energy to deal with the attention a younger dog requires. Depending on what your patience, desires and capabilities are, an older dog may be a better choice.

Your Lifestyle and Health

Although it is sometimes a difficult thing to come to grips with, you may not be able to handle a very active dog if your health is not great or your physical capabilities have changed as you enter your retirement years. You may find that a calmer breed is more suited to your new life and your capabilities. Keep your limitations in mind when you pick your new dog.

Cost Considerations

Realistically speaking, all dogs will add more expense to your monthly budget. The basic costs of dog care, such as CANIDAE dog food, grooming products and equipment, vaccinations, vet checkups, illnesses, toys and bedding etc. adds up. You need to sit down and figure out what your retirement budget is before adopting a dog for this new phase of your life.

Be realistic in your choice of a new dog for retirement. The idea of having a dog may sound wonderful, but the last thing you want is to pick a canine companion that is unsuitable for your new retirement lifestyle. Dogs are a joy and a positive part of your life if the fit is right for both of you. Now go find the perfect dog to share retirement!

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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