Beat Depression and Loneliness by Bringing Home an Older Dog

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Posted on: 26 November 2014 by Nicola Reynor

Several people suffer from depression and experience loneliness in their old age. If you are among those people, you may have been suggested ideas such as keeping in touch with your loved ones and friends, getting active in your community, joining an activity class, etc.

The best advice undoubtedly is the one that goes, 'Get a dog!' because not only can a dog be your best friend, it can keep you active too. But you can’t just pick any dog for yourself now that you aren’t as physically active as you used to be before. That’s because dogs themselves need a lot of attention and exercise.
 
If you’re planning to get a dog for yourself, you’ll need to consider a breed that won’t require a lot of physical activity and care. The best thing to do would be to get an adult dog home instead of going for a puppy.
 
Here is some information on choosing a dog for yourself and welcoming it into your life.
 
Selecting the Right Canine Companion
 
For people in their golden years, it is preferable to go for an adult or senior dog instead of a young one. You also need to select a breed that will do with moderate to little exercise. Don’t assume that a small-sized dog will fit the bill and that a larger dog will need more exercise. A breed such as the Jack Russell may seem small but they are high-energy dogs that need daily exercise.
 
You can choose to adopt calm breeds such as the poodle, the French bulldog, the Maltese, the Pomeranian, or the Shih-Tzu. The greyhound though a larger breed, only needs moderate exercise, so you can consider getting one.
 
Remember to choose the breed carefully; dogs that aren’t exercised well enough may resort to destructive behavior easily.
 
Senior dogs may come with their set of health problems and may need to be cared for depending on the illness. Be sure to learn more about the problem and assess if you’ll be able to take good care of the dog before you adopt it.
 
The Pros of Bringing Home an Adult Dog
 
A pup though adorable, will need to be trained. You'll have to house-train it and as it grows, you'll have to deal with accidents and urine marking, and teach it to not chew your shoes and furniture. You'll have to work on a puppy to accustom it to your world, other people and animals. Puppies like kids, also need a lot of care than adult dogs.
 
Younger dogs are full of energy and it is necessary to exercise them regularly. Adult dogs enjoy the easy life and won’t mind sitting next to you on the couch all day long. This doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise but they don’t need a strenuous work out every day like younger dogs do either. An adult or senior dog won’t require as much attention as a pup too.
 
Moreover, you don't know how your pup's personality will develop. A pup may also have a history of a disease or illness that you don't know about. On the other hand, with an adult dog, you'll get exactly what you see.
 
Adult dogs have been with people long enough to know how to adjust with them. They have become experts at reading their human friends and know that they should do as expected.
 
Furthermore, some dogs may already be house-trained and may know how to walk on a leash. Even if the dog isn't trained, it's comparatively easier to train an adult than a pup. That's because an adult is mentally stronger than a pup and can retain information better. An adult dog is also a lot calmer than a younger dog so you’ll be able to teach it new tricks quickly!
 
It should be noted that dogs have an average life span of 15-20 years and bringing home a dog means a life-long commitment. With an adult or senior dog, you know you needn’t commit for this long. So if you’re uncertain of living with a furry friend, an adult dog is certainly the way to go.
 
Preparing to Welcome the Adult Dog
 
Animal shelters may have information related to the previous owners, how the dog was treated, and why it was left at the shelter. They may also have the dog's health records and may have taken steps to treat illnesses and spay or neuter it. As such, you may not have to do much for the dog before you bring it home.
 
However, when you adopt an adult dog, you may or may not know of the dog's history. Rescued dogs may take a while to settle in and sometimes, a few dogs that have been mistreated are unable to leave their baggage behind. Animal shelters are adept at assessing a dog's behavior and temperament and they will usually discuss these things with you before you adopt a dog.
 
Once you bring the dog home, help it to relax and adjust to its new surroundings. You'll want to treat it with good food, nice dog accessories and toys, and a comfortable bed. Take time out to groom it regularly. Be sure to never disturb it while it eats or sleeps.
 
Changing homes can be traumatic for dogs, so be sure to give it all the love and patience that you can.
 
Conclusion
 
As much as one would love to lead an active and happy life, the same isn't that easily possible. But with a dog by your side, you can be sure to beat the blues away. Select the right one according to your needs and you are sure to have a companion for life!
 

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