Is Adopting a Dog Right for You? 5 Things to Consider

Dogs can provide companionship, structure and health benefits for a retiree! However, dog ownership isn’t the right choice for everyone. Read these five things you should consider.

Adopt a Dog

Many people look forward to retiring—only to struggle with the loss of structure, social connections and sense of purpose associated with working.


It’s important to fill this void with something meaningful, and for some retirees, that means adopting a dog


Not only do many dogs provide an unconditional source of companionship and love, but they thrive on routine schedules, consistent meals and regular exercise, adding structure to the daily life of a retiree. In addition, dogs are known to boost their owners’ health by encouraging regular physical activity and promoting better mental health!


However, on the flip side, owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, and it’s not the right choice for every retiree. 


Are you in or nearing retirement and considering adopting a dog? In celebration of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month in October, check out these five things you should consider.


  • 1


    For many people, retirement means living on a fixed income. At the same time, dog ownership comes with financial costs, with studies showing that dog owners spend $1,270 to $2,803 a year. Will dog food, veterinary care, training and grooming fit in your retirement budget, and can your emergency savings handle the emergency illness and accident veterinary visits that may occur? It’s important to ensure you have the resources to manage these costs before bringing a furry friend home.

  • 2


    Some retirees have a lot of free time. Others have fuller schedules, perhaps working part-time, volunteering, caring for grandchildren or being involved in the community. It’s crucial to consider whether you have enough time to meet a dog’s needs. Dogs are very social animals, and experts say they need a minimum of two hours of dedicated social time with humans or other dogs every day. In addition, veterinarians say dogs should spend no more than six to eight hours alone without a chance to relieve themselves.

  • 3

    Your home

    Do you have enough living space for a dog to comfortably live in your home? Do you have a yard or a place where you can take your dog for walks and bathroom breaks? If you live in a rental, is it pet friendly? These are all questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog.​

  • 4


    Many people look forward to traveling in retirement, which can make dog ownership challenging. Kenneling or boarding a dog costs on average $30 to $50 per night, and hiring a dog sitter can cost even more than that. Some retirees bring their dogs along with them on travel adventures, but it does require additional planning and could add some extra cost.

  • 5

    The future

    The average lifespan for dogs is around 10 to 13 years, give or take a few depending on a dog’s size and breed. It isn’t fun to think about, but it’s important to consider what would happen if you weren’t able to take care of your dog anymore. Do you have a friend or relative who w ould step in care for your dog if you can’t ?


    The unknown future isn’t necessarily a reason to not get a dog, but rather a reason to ensure you have a plan for who will care for your dog if you can’t.


    You may be interested in reading 6 Tips for Caring for Pets in Retirement


Should you get a dog in retirement?

Dogs bring infinite amounts of joy to their owners, but important to consider if a dog will fit your retirement lifestyle. If you do decide that you’re ready to own a dog, we hope you’ll consider adopting one of the millions of dogs in shelters that are waiting for a loving owner like you!

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