Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Sometimes older people feel their lives become monotonous.  They may get lonely, run down, and stuck in a rut. Fortunately, there’s is a simple solution to bring a new light to the life of a senior and that’s owning a pet. Animal companions can erase feelings of loneliness and give variety and emotional depth to one’s day. Studies show that pets reduce stress and are beneficial as one gets older, but what makes a good pet for an older person?



There’s a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend.” However, dogs require more care than other pets. As long as one is willing and able to take their dog for regular walks, they make an excellent choice. Dogs require more space than most other animals, but they are the perfect all-around companion to reduce loneliness and to liven up someone’s life.

Older people tend to do better with smaller dogs because they require less responsibility. A cute no-shedding miniature poodle makes a great choice, as they are a lot of laughs and are great with kids. A playful terrier is also an excellent choice. Every day with these pups brings exercise and entertainment, not to mention an amazing friend.



Cats are known to reduce stress and anxiety, and they make a fantastic low-maintenance pet to keep people company throughout the day. They thrive in almost any environment be it rural or urban, and easily conform to the space provided. Most cats can live exclusively indoors if their human companions have difficulty going outside when the weather gets cold or rainy.

It’s crucial that anyone who wants a cat also have a plan to keep the litter box refreshed regularly. It’s certainly an unpleasant chore, but cleaning a litter box does provide some physical activity for the pet owner.

Cats are notoriously playful creatures and this provides senior pet owners with regular activity, as well as relaxation and enjoyment. Studies indicate that seniors who have the company of an adult cat have a one-third lower risk of a heart attack.



Want a pet to talk to that will talk back? That can be arranged.


Teaching a bird tricks and training them to talk is a rewarding way to occupy a few hours each day. Birds will make one’s home seem much more full and alive with their odd calls and playful antics. Birds can become very talkative and interactive, but only take up a small amount of space as they live inside a cage.
Birds require very little care but add a splash of color and fun to a living space. They also need a home where the inside temperature is kept fairly warm at all times, so careful consideration is needed to decide if a home should be a bird habitat.



Fish are some of the best stress relievers that there are, especially when one considers how little work it takes to care for them. Having an aquarium of colorful fish in the living space can be unbelievably calming and provide entertainment. They are the perfect pet for owners who don’t go outside periodically or are unable to move around a lot.

Fish require little space energy but they add extra color and liveliness to a home. They do require a fair amount of research, including balancing the species inside a fish tank as well as maintaining the water chemistry. Professionals at a pet store can give great advice here.


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