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Dogs are excellent companions for people of all ages. Some of them can be trained to help people in their golden years, and research proved that dogs improve both our physical and mental health. As a senior, choosing a dog may be a difficult decision, especially if it is for the first time, but there are many breeds suitable for retired pet parents.
Below, we’ll have a look if bichons frises are good for seniors and what you should consider before buying or adopting one.
Are Bichons Frises Good for Seniors?
Dogs provide many benefits for seniors.
First, staying active may be more difficult as you age. Bichons frises are one of the best breeds from this perspective because they need to be active for about 30 minutes per day, but they are not so active as larger breeds. Thus, it’s the best companion for an occasional walk to stay healthy.
In addition to this, bichons frises may help you with mental health, as well. It is an affectionate, joyful pup that can be trained to perform tricks and bring a smile to your face every day. Having a pup with you all the time keeps loneliness at bay – especially important for seniors who live alone.
In addition to this, research has shown that dog companionship reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. It can help with depression and anxiety, too.
6 Reasons Why Bichons Frises Are Good for Seniors
Here are some reasons why bichon frises are great dogs for seniors:
1. They Can Live in a Small Space
As the bichon frise is a small breed, they can easily adapt to any type of home, whether it is a small apartment or a large country house. With minimal needs for exercise and moderate activity levels, many seniors find that taking care of a small dog is a lot easier than larger breeds.
2. They Are Affectionate and Joyful
A bichon frise is certainly one of the best breeds to keep loneliness and negative thoughts at bay. These pups are loyal and love attention. They want to be with you all the time, no matter what you do. Whether you want to take a nap, go for a walk, or watch TV, the bichon frise will be by your side – and very happy to do so, too.
3. They Are Protective
The small bichon frise may not look like a watchdog, but it is indeed alert and curious. It has a tendency to bark at strangers, so you will be informed whenever someone gets close – whether it is the postman, you have a friend over, or your neighbor is around. However, despite being alert and letting you know when someone is close, bichons frises are not aggressive dogs – it’s just a good friend watching out for you!
4. They Are Intelligent
Bichons frises are intelligent dogs, although perhaps not the easiest ones to train. Some may be a bit stubborn, but you can get a professional trainer to assist you with teaching your pup manners.
If you’ve had dogs before, training may not be so difficult, especially as long as you use praise and lots of treats (see my recommendations) during short, fun training sessions. It’s much easier to train a dog as soon as you adopt it, ideally younger than six months old, to avoid stubbornness.
5. They Are Low Shedders
Opting for a breed that sheds a lot may be difficult as a senior because of all the work involved to keep your house clean. Fortunately, bichons frises are ideal from this perspective as they do not shed much. For this reason, they are considered hypoallergenic and often recommended for people with allergies.
All the loose hairs get trapped in the dog’s fur, so practically shedding will be minimal.
6. They Have Low Exercise Needs
Bichons frises only need about 30 minutes of activity per day to stay healthy, so short walking sessions a couple of times per day will be more than enough. If you cannot or are not very active, the breed is excellent. If you have a small balcony or a patio, that may be more than enough.
Also, if the weather is bad or you cannot go outside for a specific reason, you can keep plenty of toys around and have a fun playtime session indoors from time to time.
2 Things to Be Aware of Before Getting a Bichon Frise as a Senior
This being said, there are a few things you should consider before getting a bichon frise as a senior too.
1. They Have High Grooming Needs
A bichon frise’s coat is curly, puffy, and white. While the specific puffy look of a bichon frise is highly appealing, they have quite high grooming needs. Bichon owners need to brush or comb the coat every day, keeping mats and tangles at bay. You will also need to take your pup to a professional groomer once per month or every 2 months at least.
2. They Need Time and Attention
Bichons are not suitable for people who are busy and cannot stay at home all the time. When left alone for long hours, bichons frises tend to be destructive and may suffer from separation anxiety.
3 Other Breeds for Seniors to Consider
Before making a decision, it’s best to consider your other options, too. Some other breeds recommended for seniors are the poodle, Maltese, and Shih Tzu.
The poodle is an excellent breed for seniors because they are easy to train, happy to please, and very loving dogs. The soft coat also requires regular grooming, but they don’t shed much. Poodles come in various sizes, including miniature, toy, and standard.
I wrote in detail about how poodle and bichon frise compare here.
Belonging to the same family as the bichon, the Maltese is the perfect lap dog. The grooming needs are similar to bichon, they are easy to train, and do not need much activity.
I wrote in detail about how the Maltese and bichon frise compare here.
3. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is an excellent alternative, especially if the bichon’s tendency to bark is a major disadvantage. Shih Tzus are quiet and gentle dogs, but you may need to spend more time on housebreaking than with other breeds.
I wrote in detail about how Shih Tzu and bichon frise compare here.
All in all, bichons frises are good for seniors who have plenty of free time to spend with their pup and can take care of all the grooming and maintenance needs. These dogs are easy to train, sociable, and can adapt to any type of living space. The playful personality and loving nature are definitely worth the extra time required for maintenance and grooming.