If you’re a senior who spends a lot of time at home, you’re in the perfect position to get a pet. A furry companion can keep you company and will benefit from the attention you’re able to give them. However, getting an animal is a commitment and you need to prepare. Etowah Valley Humane Society is dedicated to providing pet owners with the information they need to raise happy animals. This guide provides seniors with the info they need to get a pet.

Recognize the benefits of pet ownership for seniors

Elderly persons benefit from pet ownership in many ways. An animal companion can help minimize feelings of loneliness and associated mental health problems like anxiety or depression. Having a pet can also be a great way to connect with your community. For example, if you get a dog, you’ll meet people when you take them for walks or to the dog park. Caring for a pet can also mean getting more physical activity, which is also healthy.

Choose a pet that fits your lifestyle

Not every household is suitable for every animal. There are many factors determining what type of animal is right for you, from the size of your home to your physical abilities and how much time you can give the creature. Four Paws International has a quiz you can use to determine what kind of animal is right for your situation. Taking the time to choose a suitable companion will benefit you and your pet in the big picture.

Get the supplies you need for your pet

Once you know what kind of pet you want to get, you can invest in the necessary supplies. For example, if you’re getting a dog, you’ll need a bed, collar, crate, leash, and toys. If you’re getting a cat, you’ll need a carrier, bed, litter box, and scratching post. Then there are basics like food and grooming supplies. If it’s your first time getting an animal, talk to your local humane society to confirm what you’ll need.

Prepare for your new family member’s arrival

Before you bring your furry friend home, take the time to pet-proof your home. If you’re getting a puppy or kitten, you may want to install child-proof locks on lower cabinets, for example. Possible toxins like medications and household cleaners should be stored on high shelves. Trash cans and food should likewise be secured. Also, make sure there aren’t any loose wires throughout the house. American Humane provides more pet-proofing guidance.

Help your pet get settled

Your new family member will likely be a bit nervous when they first arrive in their forever home with you. There are steps you can take to help them get settled. Start by introducing them to just one room of the house, which ensures they won’t get overwhelmed. Make sure they have the essentials, like food, water, and a puppy pad or litter box there. As they become acclimated to their surroundings, you can slowly expand their horizons.

Set up a pet care support system

Make sure you have a solid pet support system in place to help care for your pet, like veterinarians, walkers, sitters, and groomers. Also consider helpers to keep your home cozy and pet-friendly, like cleaning professionals. Your carpets and couches may get dirtier faster than in the past. Look up furniture cleaning near me on Angi to get started. Ask companies for referrals from former customers and confirm that they don’t use all-in-one cleaning products, which can damage your upholstery.

Owning a pet as a senior can be very rewarding. Your furry pal will appreciate your love and attention, while you’ll have a loyal companion for your later years. Follow the tips above to find the right animal for you.

For more content like this, visit the Etowah Valley Humane Society resource center. If you’re looking to adopt, they can also help.

Written by: Jessica Brody