Best Pets for Seniors

There is something incredibly special about the bond between a person and their pet. For older adults, pets can make a positive difference in their quality of life. If your loved one is thinking of getting a pet, you should research your options thoroughly. Some pets are better at providing companionship while others are easier to care for. Use this list of the best pets for seniors to help you choose the perfect companion for yourself or your loved one.

Seniors who have pets experience many health benefits.

The Benefits of Having a Pet as an Older Adult

Seniors who have pets experience many health benefits. Not only do pets reduce loneliness, but they also help boost your mental and physical health by encouraging daily walks and play.

It’s easy to see that pets keep you physically active, especially if you have a dog. However, the mental and spiritual benefits are just as impactful. Interacting with animals regularly is an effective way to reduce stress. Daily cuddles with your furry companion can make you feel happier and more connected. For older adults looking for ways to improve their quality of life, pets may be the perfect solution.

Choosing the Best Pets for Seniors

Once you know that you or your loved one is ready for a pet, you face the challenge of choosing the right animal. Here are some things to consider when picking the best pet for an older adult:

  • Personal interest – are you a cat person, a dog person, or neither? Find out what kind of animals your loved one enjoys.
  • Physical abilities – can your loved one take care of an active animal such as a dog? Or would a fish tank better suit their range of mobility and energy levels?
  • Time – do you travel often or have time-intensive hobbies? Choose an animal companion that fits your lifestyle.
  • Senior living requirements – does your loved one’s apartment allow animals? If so, which kind?
  • Costs – caring for a pet requires financial resources for food, training, and more. Are you able to manage the costs of having a pet?

Encourage your loved one to answer these questions honestly and remember to avoid judgment when speaking to them about getting a pet. When you feel confident that the timing is right, consider these animals.


Cats are a great option for older adults. They are one of the best pets for seniors in apartments because they take up very little space and don’t require outdoor exercise. At the same time, cats still offer physical comfort and companionship in a way that fish and birds cannot.

Caring for a cat isn’t physically demanding because these animals are light. You can pick them up and put them down with ease. However, keep in mind that some cats are more affectionate than others. Every cat is unique, and their levels of independence can vary. 

One thing you can do when choosing a cat is look for an adult animal at a shelter or one being rehomed. You can find out about their personality, visit multiple animals, and find one that feels just right for your lifestyle.


Dogs make great pets for seniors and families. They are loyal and loving animals, and you can take them on adventures and outings. Some dogs are even trained to provide medical assistance or mental health support. 

Having a dog can ease anxiety, reduce stress, and keep loneliness at bay. Dogs also keep you active and help you stick to a routine. Taking a dog for a walk is a great way to meet neighbors and other seniors.

Not all senior living apartments allow dogs, and some facilities may have breed restrictions. Do your research and ensure that you or your loved one has the energy and is ready to commit to caring for a dog.

Choosing the best pets for seniors means considering a number of factors.

Choosing the Right Dog for an Older Adult

Because dogs require a lot more attention than other animals, choosing the right dog can take time. Some things you’ll need to consider are:

  • Breed
  • Age
  • Temperament
  • Energy level
  • Training
  • Health issue
  • Dietary needs
  • Adopting or purchasing

Adopting a dog from a shelter is a wonderful act and can save a dog’s life. Shelters most often have mixed-breed dogs, so be sure to inquire about each animal’s personality and energy levels before committing.

Puppies are adorable, but they can be a handful. Older adults may fare better getting a dog that is two to four years old. Additionally, choosing a dog that is less than 30 lbs can help you avoid potential issues with lifting and walking your dog.


If you’re looking for an animal companion that requires less physical activity on your part, consider getting a bird. Pet birds are beautiful to look at and fascinating to observe. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, so do your research before deciding.

Some birds can live for a long time, even decades. Be sure to have a care plan in place in case your or your loved one’s health becomes an issue with having a bird as a pet.


Fish are popular with people who want low-maintenance pets in their home. They are colorful and soothing to watch. People with mobility issues may do well as fish owners. 

If cleaning your fish tank becomes overwhelming, ask your family members or close friends for help. This can be a good task for grandchildren or church community members looking for ways to interact with older adults.

Other Animals

While cats, dogs, birds, and fish are the best pets for seniors, they aren’t the only options. Other popular animals include: 

  • Rabbits
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea pigs
  • Bearded dragon lizards

Some older adults may be interested in having a non-traditional pet. Take the time to chat with your loved one and look at all of your options.

Live With the Best Pets for Seniors in a Like-Minded Community

If you and your loved one have been discussing the transition to senior apartments or an assisted living environment, explore pet-friendly options. Our communities understand that the best pets for seniors make life more enjoyable for everyone. Schedule a visit today to discover a community of caregivers dedicated to improving your quality of life.

For help or more information contact us or schedule a visit at a location today.