Getting a dog after retirement – could it be the best thing you could do?

Sarah Hughes 5 September 2019

Let’s face it – retirement is something we all long for - but the reality is – it can come as a deep shock when the working routine you’ve had for the last 45 years is no longer there, and a lot of people end up struggling to find ways to fill the time that is now on their hands. It can also be an incredibly lonely and isolating period of our lives. So, it comes as no surprise that many about to enter retirement think it can be the perfect time to get a dog. As well as helping to bring a new routine into your life, there is also lots of research that suggests owning a pet can give a boost to your health and can also be great for your social life.

There are many benefits to getting a dog aside from having a loyal friend to share your retirement with - pets have also been known to help people relax, reduce stress levels, speed up recovery after an illness, and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making them less likely to suffer from a heart attack.

They encourage exercise, they provide companionship, they make great travel companions, they foster a sense of community and are great ice breakers – bolstering support networks which can help guard against loneliness. Plus, the unconditional love that dogs give you – you can’t bottle that!

So what dog should you get?

According to Pets4Homes list of most popular dog breeds, the French bulldog is the most popular, followed by the Chihuahua and the Pug.

The Cockapoo is also growing in popularity and is the highest ranked hybrid dog type in the UK and currently the 4th most popular dog breed overall. Followed by the Cocker Spaniel and the Labrador Retriever in 5thand 6thplace respectively.

Of course, the dog you chose shouldn’t just depend on which breed you think is the cutest or which is the most popular.

Here are some things to take into consideration when thinking about what breed of dog to get and what your pet will need from you:

  • The size of your house and garden – if you have a large space both inside and outside and would like a large, energetic dog then you’ll have the room to accommodate, but if your house is small, you may want to consider a smaller dog.

  • The exercise needs of the breed of dog you’d like to buy – make sure you are able to keep up and give them the daily exercise they require. Be sure to pick a breed that matches your own lifestyle.

  • The amount of shredding and grooming the breed will need – The house proud should choose a low shedding breed to make life easier– but don’t worry - there are a lot ​of low shedding breeds ​to choose from. You’ll also need to think about a dog’s coat maintenance – a lot of breeds are easy to maintain with regard to grooming and will only need a brush once per week to keep their coats and skin in tip top condition. Some breeds will need professional grooming 3-4 times a year though and this can considerably increase the cost of keeping a dog.

  • Do you have children or grandchildren in the houseSome breeds are not very tolerant of children, whilst other are exceptionally good around children of all ages and will tolerate being pulled about and will put up with noisy environments when kids are about.  

  • The health of a breed Pets4homes always recommends that potential owners ask breeders about any genetic diseases that are known to affect a breed and request to see all results of DNA and other tests carried out on parent dogs before you commit to buying a puppy from them.

  • Do you go out a lot? If so, be sure to check that the breed you choose can tolerate being left on its own frequently or for long period of time throughout the day.

  • Patience levels – Some breeds are quick to learn and to train whilst other breeds take longer. It’s worth thinking about how patient a person you are and the time you are willing to dedicate to training them and factoring this into your decision making when choosing a breed. A lot of dogs have evolved to be highly intelligent but just because a dog is extremely intelligent does not mean they are easy to live with – some need a large amount of exercise but also a lot of mental stimulation too – make sure you have the time and patience to do this if you are considering a breed with high energy and mental stimulation needs.

  • Cost – Aside from the purchase of the puppy or dog, which can be quite expensive in itself dependent on the breed you want, there are other costs to consider too and they should be factored in to ownership and care of your furry friend. This includes anything from the cost of buying the right type of food throughout each stage of their life for your chosen breed to vaccinating, neutering and spaying a dog when the time is right, purchasing good quality accessories such as dog collars and leads as well as things like vet bills and pet insurance.

Pets4Homes has a profile page on each dog breed which will help equip you with making the right decision on which breed to get – based on what’s right for you and your lifestyle – this includes information such as key breed facts, breed characteristics, highlights, history, caring information and average costs to keep and care for each breed. 

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.