Tips for owning a pet in your golden years

It’s no secret that owning a pet increases our happiness, and this is even more relevant with seniors owning pets. As we age, our lifestyles can change, and feelings of distress and loneliness can be amplified. Many studies have proven that owning a pet can reduce anxiety and depression, increase feelings of joy, and give our life new-found purpose. However, when we are in our golden years, sometimes the level of care we are able to provide can differ. Because of this, it’s important to consider what animal you choose to be your companion!


Dogs are usually most peoples first choice when it comes to owning a pet. They are extremely loving, responsive, and loyal. However, dogs can also require a higher level of care compared to other pets. If it’s unrealistic for you to bring a new puppy into your life, there are alternatives. While new puppies require training and around the clock care, adopting an older dog could be a more viable solution. There are plenty of older dogs out there that need a new home and some TLC. So why not give them a new life where they can feel loved, without giving yourself the extra stress of puppy training.

Another thing to consider is the size of the dog. While many people prefer bigger dogs, these are not always realistic, especially when living in apartments or seniors communities. A smaller dog requires less space, less walking, and generally less care. Plus-they’re a lot easier to cuddle!


Cats can be a great option if a dog is too difficult for you to care for. Not only do they require less attention, but they also don’t need to be walked and exercised. Cats are pretty independent, but still serve as fantastic company. When it comes to younger or older cats, the same goes as it does for dogs. Kittens require a lot more work and training. And while kittens may be adorable, adopting a mature cat may be the best way to go. This means less work worrying about training, and more time bonding with your new companion.

Smaller pets

Depending on your own mobility and care needs, dogs and cats still may not be the best option. If this is the case, never fear! The options are endless when it comes to smaller pets. Birds, reptiles, mice, fish-the list goes on. Make sure to do your research into what kind of training, care, and lifestyle these options need and decide which is best for you. While owning something as simple as a fish may seem boring, you would be surprised the effect it could still have on your life. Simply having another living thing to care for can give you a real sense of purpose, and joy.

Pets at Glenvale

At Glenvale Villas, we strongly believe in (because we can see it in evidence!) the benefit and therapeutic role of pets in our environment. It brings unfettered joy to our residents to pamper their beloved animal. Of course the hound does not give a toss if his collar is shiny and diamond studded, but the owner takes pride in nurturing its life and so, the fanciest collar is to the human, a worthwhile purchase. 

If you are in an aged care centre or supported living environment, and are caring for a pet, here are our top tips to keep things practical and manageable.

  1. Speak to your vet about scheduling regular health checks for your pet. This way you can keep on top of, and be forewarned about any looming health problems. Do yourself a favour and find a convenient mobile vet service. Do a search on Google to find a vet that services your area. It’s worth its weight in gold not to have to manage pets in taxis, buses and cars!
  2. Remember to vaccinate annually.
  3. Remember to register your pet and make sure address is current. Always have a collar on them with an identification tag. If they go walkabout you have a good chance of them being returned to you.
  4. Keep pets inside or crated at night to avoid impacting local wildlife and endangering your pet’s life. Be wary of cane toads. Check your garden before letting pets out.
  5. Groom them well and regularly. If you are unable to bathe your pet – get a mobile service to come to you.
  6. Get a professional groomer for dogs at least twice a year to clean ears, trim nails, etc.
  7. Give your pet plenty of exercise. A routine walk is great for dogs. Some cat toys and a climbing post will keep cats entertained and their limbs supple.
  8. Don’t feed pets poor quality food or too many leftover scraps. This will impact their digestion and can result in messy clean-ups. Keep their water fresh – change it every day even if the bowl is full. Definitely don’t overfeed.
  9. Keep your pet’s outdoor area clean and tidy. Hose off any soiled pavers and brickwork and dispose of droppings regularly.
  10. If your dog barks, be mindful of your neighbours especially in a senior’s environment. Try some dog training, and if that’s unsuccessful you may have to resort to a bark collar.