Pet Ownership in Retirement

With the average American retirement lasting nearly 20 years, it’s more important than ever to make sure your golden years are as enjoyable and enriching as possible.

And there’s no better way to do that than by owning a pet! Pets provide companionship, they can help keep you healthy and active, and they give you a purpose in life after work. The benefits of pet ownership in retirement are many—but so are the challenges.

In this article, we’ll explore how pets can be an incredible asset to retirees and how to make sure that you’re prepared for the long haul when taking on this new responsibility.

Owning a pet can be one of the best investments you make for your health! They offer opportunities to get out and about and boost socialization skills. opens in a new windowSome studies have also linked pet ownership to increased relaxation and lower stress levels and indicated that seniors are more likely to feel joy, smile, and engage with others when pets are around.

Key Takeaways

  • Before taking the plunge into pet ownership, it’s important to make sure you have the resources and energy necessary for providing proper care.
  • But if done right, having a furry friend can bring many benefits! Not only do they provide companionship and motivation to stay active as we age; but they also give us purpose in life after retirement or leaving our job.
  • And when considering adoption – consider giving an older rescue pup or kitty a second chance at love – often times these fur babies are already house-trained & socialized making them perfect companions for any home.
Pet Ownership in Retirement

Benefits of Pet Ownership in Retirement

Improved physical and mental health

Retirement can be a stressful time. You’ve worked hard, and now you’re looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labors—but suddenly, it seems like there’s so much to do!

The good news is that you can start to enjoy your retirement by taking on some new responsibilities: caring for a pet. Pets are great stress relievers and companions, but they also have other benefits that make them an excellent addition to a retirement plan. Here are just a few reasons why owning a pet in retirement is a no-brainer.

Companionship and socialization

Pets are great for pet companionship for anyone, but they’re especially helpful for people who live alone. Pets’ social connections can help you feel less isolated and more connected to the world around you.

There’s a lot of research that shows that opens in a new windowowning a pet can help improve your mood, relieve stress, and reduce stress, and depression as well as lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of heart disease. That’s because interacting with animals is often considered “therapeutic” by psychologists and other mental health professionals.

Sense of purpose and responsibility

As we age, it can be easy to feel like our purpose in life has come to an end. We may not have children or grandchildren to take care of us, and sometimes our friends and family are no longer around.

But the good news is that you can still find meaning in life by adopting a pet! Pets are not only great companions—they’re also a source of purpose and responsibility. Having a pet means you have something to care for and love that will never leave you. It’s like having children all over again! Plus, your pet will also love you back unconditionally, which can make you feel less lonely as well.

If you’re considering adopting a dog or cat, consider how much joy they’ll bring into your life when they’re older too!

Reduced stress and anxiety

There’s a reason that the phrase “a dog is man’s best friend” has been around for decades. It’s not just a cute saying: there are real, measurable health benefits to owning a pet in retirement, and they can be life-changing.

It’s well-documented that human-animal bonds can have a wide range of opens in a new windowbeneficial effects. In one study, researchers found that pet owners had higher oxytocin levels than non-pet owners, suggesting a powerful connection, this is what they call the ‘ opens in a new windowhuman-animal bond‘. Furthermore, another research showed that dogs may have a positive effect on the sense of well-being among seniors, illustrating just how powerful the human-animal bond can be.

If you have older adults who’ve recently retired or are planning on retiring soon, it might be time to consider adding a furry friend to your household.

Challenges of Pet Ownership in Retirement

Financial Considerations

One of the biggest challenges of pet and dog ownership in retirement is financial considerations.

opens in a new windowPets are expensive. Pet food, vet bills, dog walks, cat litter, and toys all add up quickly. If you’re looking to adopt a pet in retirement, it’s important to think about how much you can afford to spend and how much time you want to invest in caring for your furry friend.

If you’re a new retiree and don’t have a lot of money saved up yet, consider adopting an older pet that needs a home. The adoption fee is often lower or even free if the animal has been at the shelter for a while. You can also ask around if anyone knows of any friends or family who might be interested in giving their pets up for adoption.

Time commitment and physical ability

One of the biggest challenges of pet ownership in retirement is the time commitment. Pets need to be fed and walked regularly, and they also need to be trained. If you are used to being able to spend all day at home without having any responsibilities, this can be a challenge.

Another challenge of pet ownership in retirement is physical ability. While pets can be trained, they will still need your help with things like going outside for bathroom breaks or playing with them. If you have mobility issues or health problems that prevent you from lifting heavy objects or bending over for long periods of time, this could be a problem for you.

Health concerns and care needs

Retiring pet owners are often concerned about their pet’s health and care needs. There are many things to consider, including whether or not the pet will be able to adjust to a new lifestyle. It is important for retirees to keep in mind that there are many senior companion animal programs available for pets. These programs provide assistance with routine care, medication management, and other services such as medical expenses and other costs such as grooming and transportation.

The cost of caring for a pet can be costly and may require making sacrifices or adjustments. It is important for retirees to plan ahead financially so they can continue providing quality care for their pets while maintaining a comfortable standard of living.

Reverse mortgages are a unique solution that can help you obtain the financial resources you need in retirement. Whether it’s to pay for everyday necessities, hospital bills or even caring for a pet, this type of loan could be just what you’re looking for. Find out more about how reverse mortgages work and if they may be right for your situation here!

Housing restrictions and limitations

Housing restrictions and limited mobility limitations are huge challenges for pet owners who are retirees.

The first challenge is finding a place to live that allows pets. While not every senior living community welcomes pets, there are some that do. If you’re considering a move to a retirement community, check to see if they allow pets.

And even if you find a place that allows you to bring your furry friend along with you, there may be other restrictions on what kind of pet is allowed. Some retirement communities only allow small or medium-sized dogs, while others allow cats but not dogs. Others require that all pets must be spayed or neutered before moving into the community.

Choosing the Right Pet for Retirement

Factors to consider when selecting a pet

When you’re in retirement, it can be difficult to find a pet that’s right for you. There are several factors to consider when selecting a pet, including:

  • The time commitment required of you—some pets require more care than others
  • Are the resources available to you—are there enough financial and time resources for you to take care of your pet?
  • Your lifestyle—do you want a pet that requires lots of exercise or one that will stay at home most of the time?
  • Your personality type—some people are more suited to caring for certain types of animals than others
  • Pet’s age — younger pets require more time and energy to train, while older pets may already have established behaviors that can be difficult to change.
  • human-animal connection—do you want a pet that will be an active part of your life and family, or do you prefer more solitary animals?

Popular pet options for retirees

Which pet you’re considering carefully—some breeds may be better suited for life in retirement than others. Once you’ve identified a few suitable candidates, it’s important to taketh the average retirement age at 60, there are plenty of reasons to consider adding a four-legged friend to your life. Pets help provide companionship and unconditional love, as well as provide an excuse to get out of the house every once in a while. If you’re looking for a new companion, here are some popular options that retirees should consider:


Dogs are one of the most popular pets among retirees. They’re easy to care for and require little maintenance. Plus, their ability to be trained makes them great companions for those who want a high-energy pet to keep them company during walks or hikes around town.


Cats may not be as active as dogs, but they’re known for being very affectionate and loving towards humans and their owners—and sometimes even other animals! While cats do require more attention than dogs because they need daily grooming, this doesn’t mean they aren’t great for retirees who don’t have much time on their hands each day but still want a companion animal around the house.


Fish are popular pets for retirees because they are relatively low-maintenance, don’t require much space, and can be quite entertaining. They also have a calming effect on their owners, which is especially helpful for retirees who are feeling stressed by the transition into retirement life.

However, fish do require feeding once or twice per day. They also need to be cleaned regularly and kept healthy with regular water changes.

Tips for adopting or purchasing a pet in retirement

When it comes to adopting or purchasing a pet in retirement, there are a few things you can do to make your experience as smooth as possible.

First, be sure that you’re ready for the responsibility of caring for a pet. Pets require care and attention, so if you’re not willing or able to provide those things on a regular basis, it’s probably best not to adopt or purchase a pet.

1. Research the kind of pets that would best suit your lifestyle. For example, if you’re an active person who likes spending time outdoors and has lots of room for exercise, then perhaps consider adopting or purchasing a dog instead of a cat—and vice versa!

2. Find out where local animal shelters are and how they work with prospective adopters. You may even want to volunteer at one (if possible) so that you can learn more about the process from an inside perspective before committing yourself fully to adopting or purchasing a pet from them.

3. If you’re planning to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, make sure that the pet is healthy and has been vaccinated.

Caring for Your Pet in Retirement

Maintaining your pet’s health and well-being

As you get older, it can be hard to keep up with the demands of your daily life. You may find yourself struggling to balance your finances, do housework, and take care of a pet—all at once.

But if you’re able to maintain your pet’s health and well-being, it will be much easier for you to continue caring for them as time goes on. Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Feed your pet a high-quality diet. This means avoiding cheap food with fillers that could upset their stomachs or cause other gastrointestinal issues. Ask your vet what they recommend!
  • Have regular checkups with your veterinarian so that they can help identify any problems before they become serious problems!
  • Make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times (and clean it regularly!). If they don’t drink enough water, they could develop kidney disease which can be fatal if left untreated.

Budgeting for pet expenses

If you’re considering bringing your pet with you into retirement, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is how much it will cost.

Pet care can be very expensive and is often overlooked when planning for retirement. There are many factors to consider when calculating the cost of caring for your pet:

Food and treats – The price of food and treats can vary widely depending on where you buy them, what type of food you purchase, and whether or not you choose organic options. opens in a new windowAccording to worldofdogz, Dog food costs on average $65 for small dogs and $389 for large dogs every month. If your dog is healthy and eats dry kibble designed for dogs of any breed, this fee includes food and treats. Naturally, special dog food will raise the overall cost.

Vet visits – Planning ahead is essential when it comes to retirement and vet visits can be an unexpected cost that should not be overlooked. Even fewer doctor visits can add up, especially in the case of illnesses or injuries where medical fees may become frequent. To avoid any potential financial stressors, set aside a reasonable amount of money in your emergency fund before committing to other long-term retirement plans. Doing so can help grant peace of mind that you will be well-prepared for whatever circumstances may arise during your retirement years.

Supplies – Supplies such as leashes, collars, toys, beds, etc., are all additional expenses that need to be considered when budgeting for pet care during retirement. These items can add up quickly and should be accounted for when determining how much money needs to be set aside each month for these expenses alone.

Finding pet-friendly activities and services

Retiring is a great time to take your pet with you, but for older adults, it can be hard to find activities and services that are both pet-friendly and exciting. Let’s explore some ways to make sure your pet thrives in retirement!

First, look into pet-friendly activities near your new home. If you’re moving from the city to the country, there are probably lots of things you can do with your dog or cat that are new and exciting for them—like going on walks through the woods or playing with other animals at a local dog park.

On the flip side, if you’re moving from the country to the city, there are probably lots of activities for pets that aren’t available where you live now—like visiting museums or going shopping.

Also, consider joining a club or organization focused on pets. Clubs like this tend to offer lots of activities for owners who have pets—from hiking groups or pet groups. You might even find other people who love taking photos of their pets just like you do!

Make sure to take advantage of any resources provided by local businesses or organizations. Many businesses will allow dogs in their shops or restaurants, and some may even have events specifically for pets. If you’re moving to the city, ask around at local pet stores—they often know which businesses are dog-friendly.

Planning for your pet’s future care

You’ve worked hard all your life to provide for your family. Now it’s time to make sure that your pets are taken care of in retirement, too.

As a pet owner, you have many options when it comes to planning for their future medical care:

You can set up a opens in a new windowpet trust—a legal document that details how you want to distribute assets to your pet after death, or you can name an individual or organization as opens in a new windowguardian of your pet’s estate. This person or group will be responsible for making decisions about how the money should be spent on the pet’s behalf, such as paying for veterinary bills and food.


Owning a pet during retirement can be life-changing! Caring for an animal brings companionship, activity, and purpose to many retirees. Of course, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when welcoming a furry friend into the family – make sure you have adequate time and resources available so that your four-legged companion is provided with all they need. But if done right it’s well worth the effort: what could be better than returning home from work or playing each day knowing someone loves you unconditionally?

If possible, consider rescuing an older animal that may already be socialized and house-trained; this will help transition both you and your pet into retirement life without much effort.

At the end of the day, pets and other dogs can truly be invaluable companions and bring incredible enrichment to any retiree’s life. For any further questions about retirement plans (like reverse mortgages) or for tips on other ways to transition into life after work – consider calling or scheduling a free consultation for valuable advice.

Similar Posts