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Best Therapy Dogs for Seniors

One of the biggest transitions in the life of a senior citizen is moving from a home they have lived in their whole life into life in a nursing home or assisted living center.   Because of the stress of this move, along with the other stressors that add to this event, many seniors find comfort in animal therapy that is offered at many of these facilities.

 

Animal therapy and dog therapy in particular is a great way for seniors to destress in a new environment.  Unlike any other animal, dogs are very warm and loyal to humans.  Because each breed has its own qualities they make great companions for seniors.   Let’s take a look at some of the best therapy dogs for seniors and what makes them so great.

 

Poodles–   Poodles are cute, cuddly and great dogs for those who have allergies to long haired dogs.   The great thing about poodles is that they are very small and a great lap dog.  Many senior citizens have trouble walking and small dogs like poodles are great because they are light and don’t jump like some of the larger therapy dogs.   Poodles loved to be walked by their owners and make great companions for seniors who get to know them.

 

Labs–  Labrador Retrievers are easily the most popular dogs for those with vision problems and the blind.  Labs are very easy to train and also very smart, which makes them great for seniors.   Besides being guide dogs for those with visual impairments, labs also are great just as everyday therapy dogs.   Labs want to please humans and are quick to taken a liking to whoever they meet.

 

Saint Bernard–  Among the smartest and most well loved by dogs are the Saint Bernard.   Originally developed as rescue dogs for those trapped in snowy banks in Switzerland, Saint Bernards are one of the best and largest therapy dogs for seniors.   Because of their massive weight, some weighing 200+ lbs.,  the Saint Bernard is not a great dog for those who cannot walk well nor have a lot of weight on them.   Outside of the weight, Saint Bernards are among the smartest therapy dogs around and are also great around kids.

 

Pomeranian–  For those who are not very active, the Pomeranian is a perfect dog as not only a therapy dog, but a great companion.   Pomeranian dogs make great lap dogs for seniors who love to watch movies or play games with others in nursing homes.   Besides being one of the best small therapy dogs for seniors,  Pomeranians also are one of the best looking dogs.

 

Greyhounds–  Perhaps the smartest and most loyal dog on our list are the greyhounds.   Greyhounds make great companions for those who have trouble sleeping at night or who like to stay active.  Greyhounds are commonly used as racing dogs, as they can approach speeds up to 40 mph,  but they are also great cuddlers at night.  The Greyhound breed is among the best of both worlds and are one of the favorite therapy dogs for seniors.
The transition to a nursing home or assisted living community can often be very stressful on a senior citizen.  Much like hospitals, many any of these senior living facilities have found great results from using therapy dogs for seniors.   The dogs listed above are some of the most popular dogs and all make living in a new environment a little easier for their senior companions.