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Picking the perfect pet

Senior Wellness | Sep 17, 2015

Having an animal to care for and keep you company can combat against loneliness and depression. As an older adult, owning a pet can help you in a variety of ways, such as giving you structure in your life, enhancing your daily routine and improving your overall fitness and mood. According to U.S. News and World Report, having a furry friend can also help alleviate stress, as regularly engaging and playing with your pet can help improve your mood and release tension.

Owning an animal has a plethora of various benefits. Knowing what type of pet is best for you is one of the most important factors to consider before investing in a new pal. Here are a few of the best pets for seniors:

"Owning an animal has a plethora of various benefits."

An energetic companion
Rabbits are some of the friendliest pets a senior can care for. However, they need to strictly monitor their diet. According to petrabbitcare.org, a rabbit's diet consists primarily of weeds, grasses, lettuce, broccoli and other natural vegetation. It is crucial that these animals are fed a diet with plenty of fiber to ensure their teeth and bodies remain healthy. In addition, you will need to feed your rabbit nuggets or pellets twice every day.

Rabbits are extremely social creatures. They enjoy companionship and have distinct and unique personalities. Typically, this type of pet will live between five and eight years. In some instances they might even live to be 12 years old.

Rabbits can live in hutches with a solid floor to ensure they will not hurt their tiny feet. It should be about four times as long as your rabbit to ensure your pet will not be cramped inside his or her home. Regular cleaning of bedding is crucial and should be done every other day. Also allow your rabbit to hop freely around your home every day, but ensure that you can watch him or her to avoid any damages to your furniture. These animals like to sometimes chew on furniture and wires.

If you have an enclosed backyard, this can serve as a rabbit's paradise. Allow your bunny to forage and hop around your lawn.

Rabbits enjoy playing and interacting with humans. Set aside time during your day to hang out with your hopping buddy and enjoy your time together.

A furry companion
Cats are fantastic companions that will lay on your lap and purr while you pet him or her. These animals are loving yet independent. Sometimes they will spend hours hanging out with themselves and be perfectly happy, according to PetMD. While they can fly solo, these animals still require someone to look after them. Felines enjoy playing, interacting with humans and should be groomed regularly.

A cat's diet is fairly simple. Stores sell an array of brands and different types of cat food. You can decide to feed your furry friend wet or dry food. Some cats might have specific dietary needs. Speak with a veterinarian about your cat's diet if you decide to adopt one.

Having cats as a companion can also have a positive impact on your health. According to WebMD, spending just a few minutes with your cat can make you feel less anxious and stressed, while also helping you manage your blood pressure. You may even decrease your risk of developing cardiac heart disease.

A pet for those with allergies
If you are allergic to pet dander, a hedgehog might be the perfect pet. According to Hedgehog Headquarters, these adorable animals might be a particularly good option for those who are allergic to animals like cats, dogs or other furry pets. Likewise, these animals don't require much space, as they are about the size of a hamster. Hedgehogs aren't aggressive and even better, they won't chew your furniture. Hedgehog Headquarters said you may find yourself attracted to these pets because they unique, yet perfectly great household pets.

Having a hedgehog entails having a small cage and regularly cleaning it when your pet's home becomes messy. They require clean bedding, plenty of water and hedgehog food as well.

Do your research to help find the perfect pet that fits your lifestyle and start enjoying life with a new animal friend.