About authors

Image of partner

Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Finally in the long awaited and deserved pension and more time for a new family member on four paws? What are the advantages of adopting an animal at an old age? What would rather be against seniors and pets? These and other questions will be answered in the following article.

Advantages of adoption for seniors

If you dare to take a look into the partly overcrowded animal shelters, there is no question that there are quite a few pets who would be insanely happy about a new home. It is also proven beyond doubt that the love for an animal is inviolable and can awaken new spirits in us. But what other advantages for seniors and pets?

  • The time factor: For sure, in the pension you have more time for the things in life that might have been a little too short before. Many enjoy this independence and flourish immensely, some of us can literally despair of the sudden “freedom”. What to do with this newly gained time, some people will surely think? A pet can give meaning to life in the pension, enrich it with tasks and above all protect it from boredom.
  • The social factor: Especially pensioners living alone with less social contacts often feel isolated. This isolation can lead to health problems, since we know that we humans are “social animal” in his nature. Pets can protect from loneliness. Not only do they make us feel loved, needed and protected, pets can also mean more social contact. Especially dogs need daily exercise, where you can quickly make contact with other dog owners.
  • The health factor: As already mentioned, isolation can lead to health problems. Depressive moods are only one of the many psychological symptoms that can occur. Pets can provide a sense of security and affection, comfort us in sad times and always have an open ear for us. In addition, there is the physical factor. Dogs mean exercise in the fresh air, playing and frolicking with cats and yes, you can also walk them around the house ;). Also other small animals have to be cared for, so the memory stays in shape. 
  • The playful factor: Dogs and cats are among the animal species that are playful up to a ripe old age. To a species-appropriate attitude belongs not only play and fun, but also the mental occupation of our pets. Not only our pets can benefit from this. Also humans have to strain their heads for some (training) tasks and the inner child is naturally satisfied during play.

Our pets also benefit in many ways. Since the daily walk to work in the boarding house is omitted, more time can be spent on care and attention. Many animals like to be pampered and appreciate the affection. Older animals appreciate the peace and quiet and the cosy atmosphere. Perhaps grandchildren or other playmates will drop by here and there. 

your 3d design dogbed

Things that could stand in the way of an adoption:

Let’s face it, with age comes pain. What do you do about hospital stays or rehabilitation cures? What if your back starts to hurt more and more when you clean out the cat’s litter box or your joints hurt when you go for a walk? What if you just can’t remember whether the animal has been fed or not? There are some disadvantages for seniors and pets.

  • Disease: Of course younger people are not immune to disease, but statistically speaking, diseases and aches and pains increase with age. If you are in the lucky situation to have someone in your social environment who can take over and care for the animal in case of emergency, an adoption is very realistic. If not, an adoption of an animal should be thoroughly considered in advance. In some cases, for example, animal sitters can help out. Also some apps can be a reminder for the administration of medicine, food, etc. 
  • Costs: The financial factor should also be considered. The costs for food and veterinary costs vary of course depending on the animal. However, it is a fact that animals cost not only time but also money and especially in the pension some unfortunately have to tighten their belts.
  • Living situation: If you live in a retirement home or similar, you should clarify in advance which pets are allowed in the house. Senior citizens’ homes often organise visiting groups where animals are visited or animals come into the house and time can be spent with them. 

Which pet for grandma and grandpa?

If you want to read a general recommendation here, you will be disappointed. You generally cannot say, that this or that animal fits for you better or worse. As with so many things in life, several factors play a role and must always be considered individually.

Basically you can say, however, that there are pets that need more care, financial and physical fitness from you than others. Here a good self-assessment is always required!

Think about the age of the animal (especially young animals want action), the breed (sportiness, size, needs, …), your place (does the animal need free running, furnishings, etc.) and your living conditions. 

Portrait of happy senior couple with pet dog at home, focus on gorgeous golden retriever in foreground, copy space


Pets can have a positive effect on the health of senior citizens. They protect against loneliness, keep physically and mentally fit and give us a nice task in the pension. However, you should first consider whether the individual needs of each animal can be met throughout the animal’s life.