Owning a pet in retirement is a wonderful way to boost your health and happiness. The feel-good factor of having a loyal companion by your side can improve your mood and help keep loneliness at bay. Plus, if your pet needs regular exercise, you’ll stay active, get outdoors and make social connections, all of which are good for the body and the mind.
To maximise the benefit of pet ownership in retirement, it’s important to choose the right companion. As we get older, our circumstances, needs and energy levels change, so finding an animal that ticks all the boxes is a must. In this article, we discuss the key factors to consider, to help you find the perfect pet in retirement.
The Right Size
As many over-55s choose to downsize in retirement, when it comes to pets, size is important. If you’re living in a small house or unit with a compact yard, be sure to choose an animal that will be happy in the space available.
If you have your heart set on a dog, there are plenty of smaller breeds that can be quite content living in a compact yard, as long as they get out and about for a regular walk or run in the park. Other pets to consider include cats, fish, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs or reptiles.
Why Age Matters
While puppies and kittens are adorable, they also have lots of energy. If you’re looking for a companion who is a little more on your wavelength, adopting an older pet can be a great option. A mature cat or dog is often a better match for your temperament, character and energy levels. Plus, they will be house trained, need less exercise and are often perfectly happy to just sit, relax and enjoy your company.
Activity Levels Aligned
It’s also important to find out about the activity levels of any breeds that you are considering. While you may have plenty of energy now to play and walk them frequently, this will likely decrease over time and your high-energy pet may become a burden.
There are some lovely breeds of dogs that have a relaxed temperament and require less exercise, and these are a popular choice for retirees. While cats are more than capable of maintaining their activity levels without your help, if you are looking for a cat that is content to be inside more often than not, choose a breed that is calm and sedate.
Be sure to consider the costs before you commit to your pet, as for some it can add up fast. Certain animals and breeds have a high upfront cost and/or will require a lot of equipment to set them up and give them a comfortable home. Also factor in the expense of food, vet visits and pet registration if required. And if you have a pension card, be sure to check with your council about reduced registration rates.
Care and Maintenance
While some animals will largely look after themselves, others need regular care to keep them in good shape. Before you make your final decision, look at the amount of care and maintenance required to be sure you are okay with it and it doesn’t become a chore.
The Right Pet Can Make Your Life Better in Retirement
Most of us have fond memories of our favourite pets from days gone by, and they often become part of the family. Pets have the ability to make us feel loved and connected and can bring many emotional and physical benefits to your life during retirement.
However, as we age, choosing a pet that matches your home and lifestyle is essential. So, before you buy, do your research and consider the above factors – and you’re sure to find a pet that’s the perfect fit.
Over to You
Many of our residents share their home with pets. So, if you have a question about owning a pet in our village, we’d love to hear it! Simply post a comment below or get in touch with our friendly managers on 03 5174 2384.
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