8 Science-Based Reasons Why 70-Year-Olds Should Get A Puppy

As a 70-year-old, you might wonder, should I get a puppy? Having a dog as a senior can be fun but also beneficial. And here is why;

70-year-olds should get a puppy because it creates regular moments of exercising, spending time outdoors, and socializing, which benefits both mental and physical health. The companionship of a puppy can help 70-years-olds avoid loneliness, isolation and keep them active as they get older. Also, according to many studies, puppies reduce stress, doctor visits and relieve pain and anxiety.  

Now, let’s get more into detail about why it’s a great idea to get a puppy as a 70-year-old.

1) You Get Regular Exercise

Loneliness and lower physical activity are two major factors for declining health among seniors. According to the CDC, having enough physical activity is one of the most important things someone can do when it comes to healthy aging. The CDC advises older adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. However, many people fail to get enough physical activity when they age. We spend our time mostly at home, watching television, instead of going outside. 

Have a puppy can helps to get more physically active because you need to go for a walk multiple times a day. So you’re not only letting the dog out. The dog takes you out as well.

According to a British study in 2019, “Dog owners are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than people without a dog.”

2) You’ll Spend More Time Outdoors

Being outdoors to walk the dog improves not only your physical health but also your mental health. It improves your mood, helps you relax, and improves your confidence and self-esteem.

Also, when you’re being exposed to sunlight, your vitamin D levels in the body rise. According to Harvard Medical School, “this vitamin helps to fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks.”

3) You’ll Have More Opportunities To Socialize

Walking the dog creates more opportunities for you to socialize. Walking your cute puppy makes you more approachable to other people. A puppy is a great conversation starter with strangers. And you’ll probably experience this yourself as well.

So having a puppy gives you more chances to interact with your neighbors, and it’s also a great way to make new friends as a senior. When you visit a dog park frequently, you’ll probably meet the same people that are always up for a chat which can turn into a friendship over time.

Researchers have found out that “Pet owners were significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners.” And “Around 40% of pet owners reported receiving one or more types of social support (i.e., emotional, informational, appraisal, instrumental) via people they met through their pet.”

4) Helps To Avoid Loneliness And Isolation

A puppy is a great companion. You take care of him or her, but he or she also takes care of you. According to a study, dogs can sense human emotions. So whenever you feel down or sad, your dog can sense that and perhaps will show you more affection than usual just to cheer you up.

According to the University of California San Franciso, more than 43 percent of seniors regularly experience loneliness which may predict serious health problems and even death. Did you know loneliness is as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day?

And with a puppy, you’re not alone anymore. You’ll have someone around you that wants to please you and be your friend.

5) A Puppy Reduces Your Stress

A puppy lowers blood pressure, according to CDC.

Just petting a puppy that doesn’t even have to be your own puppy slows down your breathing and relaxes your muscles. According to Washington State University, petting a dog just for 10 minutes has an enormous impact. Their study proved that the cortisol levels (major stress hormone) of the participants in their study were reduced significantly after petting a dog.

6) A Puppy Makes You More Attractive

We all know now that a dog makes you more likeable and approachable. But a puppy also makes you more attractive and can help you to score a couple of dates.

According to an experiment on Domestic Dogs as Facilitators in Social Interaction showed that “a male confederate (with or without a dog) solicited young women in the street for their phone numbers. Results show that the presence of the dog was associated with a higher compliance with the request of the confederate”

7) A Puppy Makes You Happier

A Japanese study found out that just looking at your dog raises the level of oxytocin in your body. Oxytocin is the love hormone in the body that gives us a warm, fuzzy, and tranquil feeling. And it lowers pain, stress, and anxiety because oxytocin regulates our emotional response to things and people. And it’s addictive. The more you engage and interact with your puppy, the more oxytocin you get.

If you’re looking for ways to be happier I can highly recommend reading my ebook: Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement where I go more into detail about all the things you can do to be happier.

8) Some Dogs Can Help You To Stay Independent

Some dog breeds are known to be very helpful, so if you expect to need some kind of help with your daily tasks when you’re aging, you might consider taking a dog breed that can help you with these. There are specialized companies that can help you find a helping dog. 

Things You Should Know Before Getting A Puppy As A 70-Year-Old

Many people want to have a puppy, but it takes time and effort to raise a puppy. Most 70-year-olds and other seniors have one significant advantage, leisure time. 

There’s a good chance that as a senior, you’re currently retired and that you have enough time to invest in raising a puppy. You need to decide if you’re lifestyle allows you to have a puppy in your life. Socializing and housebreaking take time and training so that your puppy can comfortably live at your home. Also, going outside multiple times a day, every day is something you need to consider if you’re able to do that. 

Some essential things you need to consider before getting a puppy are the puppy’s activity level, lifespan, and caring costs.

Activity Level 

It’s important to learn more about the activity level of the dog you want. Many dogs are very active as a puppy, and when they grow older, they will slow down. However, specific breeds, huskies, for example, will always stay active during their life. 

As a senior 70-year-old, you need to consider what type of activity level fits your current and future lifestyle. With aging, we typically slow down as well, having a lower activity level. Of course, puppies and dogs help you to stay active. But there’s a big difference between going out with your puppy several times a day or having a dog with a high activity level that needs to be multiple hours of daily activity. Pick the right dog breed that fits perfectly into your lifestyle.

Lifespan Of A Dog

Most dog breeds have a lifespan between 10 and 18 years. Although many dogs are considered ‘seniors’ around the age of 7, you need to consider if getting a puppy is something you want as a 70-year-old. There’s a chance that the puppy will outlive you. That may sound harsh, but it’s the reality in life. 

So, before you get a puppy, ask yourself if you expect to be able to take care of a dog for another 10 to 18 years. According to the CDC, the average life expectancy (of a human) in the United States is 78.7 years old. 

This means, on average, you can take care of your dog for around 8.7 years. Of course, you never know what could happen. It’s different for everyone, but it’s something you need to consider when you’re aging. 

Questions you need to ask yourself about the lifespan of your puppy before getting one is; 

  • What is the average lifespan of the specific breed?
  • Am I able to take care of the puppy/ dog for this long?
  • What will happen when I can’t take care of the dog anymore (for example, when your health decreases or when you pass away)?

Especially the last question can be important. You don’t want your dog to end up somewhere without good care. Maybe one of your children can take care of your dog when you cannot do this anymore. Perhaps you can find a good shelter for your dog and make arrangements for the time when you can’t take care of the dog anymore. 

When you don’t want to have a puppy that might outlive you or can’t find other people who can take of your dog when you cannot do so, you might want to consider getting an older dog. Older dogs are often easier to deal with if they are raised right. Their activity levels might be lower, and there’s a good chance you might outlive the dog (depending on the breed and age). 

Caring Costs

The costs of owning a dog can vary enormously. Depending on the place you live, food, leashes, toys, lifestyle, and specific needs of your dog. It’s hard to say how much you will spend precisely each month when it comes to caring costs. But it is important to make a budget for this before getting a puppy. 

According to The Spruce Pets, the monthly costs of a dog can vary between 125 USD – 825 USD. This wide range makes it hard to make budget planning. However, you can narrow this down when you decide what kind of dog breed you want as a puppy. 

Knowing the dog breed gives you much more information about the expected caring costs, on average. Thus it makes it easier to create a budget. 

The most important thing you need to consider is if these expected costs fit your current lifestyle budget. Simply askes, do you have enough money to take care of this puppy for the following years to come? If not, you probably want to reconsider getting a puppy or take a look at your other expenses so you can create a budget for getting a puppy. 

The Best Dog Training MasterClass

So, getting a puppy is not something you do every day. And when you finally decided on which puppy you want and can take it home, you need to invest time in training the puppy. You basically start raising the puppy and learning it to live in your home and to socialize with you and maybe other people you’re living with.

Training your puppy is important because this time is about getting the fundamental right. If you train the puppy in the right way from the start, you’ll benefit from this the whole lifespan. The best online course you can follow about dog training is Brandon McMillan’s MasterClass on the MasterClass platform.

The MasterClass Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training is described on the MasterClass platform as followed;

The Emmy-winning host of “Lucky Dog,” Brandon McMillan, is an expert trainer dedicated to building relationships between humans and animals. In his MasterClass, Brandon shares his simple, effective training system to help you develop trust and control with your dog. From using commands like sit, stay, and down to fixing barking and digging, you’ll learn how to improve your dog’s behavior—and create a lifelong bond.”

In only three hours, you can complete this MasterClass, which contains 15 video lessons. I really like the MasterClass platform because, with the annual membership, you get access to all the different courses available on the platform. Currently, there are over 100+ classes available.

Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

Recent Posts