Could anyone tell me where to find a dog for dementia patients?

Asked by

I live in FL.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
There is no way someone with dementia can handle a pet, let alone a dog. I inherited my mother's little dog when she went into a nursing home, however I'd been her caregiver for four years so I walked it. Nasty little thing, obese, biting, not house clean and out of control. I've had big rescue dogs all my life btw. She's been with me 18 months now and has turned into the sweetest little thing. All she needed was pack leader and structure in her life. Anyone who has mental or physical issues should NOT have a dog!
Are you looking to adopt a dog to train as a service animal?

Or are you looking for a dog that someone with dementia could adopt? If so, please rethink that. Someone with dementia can't be responsible for taking care of an animal.
I would not recommend anything more than a visiting therapy dog. Years ago a neighbor with mild dementia got a Jack Russell and he loved her dearly. She did not live long and was quite thin when she died. I think he was forgetting to feed her. It's just not fair to the dog.
If you're getting this dog to be your pet, in your home, but for your husband's benefit, that would be okay - as long as you're sure you've got the time and energy to look after it properly. So if it's a question about what breeds would have the best temperament around him, I should consult people or organisations that arrange pet therapy and find out what works best. But, to repeat, this is going to be your dog so don't get one unless you really like them anyway.
If it's companionship you seek, check out pet therapy programs, Google dog parks in your area, or take the elder to a dog show (if he/she is mobile enough).
We adopted a Golden Retriever from GRRescue a year ago. I would not have done this if I were not her to care for the dog! Mom is not capable of caring for herself, could never manage a dog!

This dog has been a blessing to all of us! She is going on 8 years, well mannered, will take all the attention mom can give her which helps me tremendously!
Lack of memory and caring for a dog not a good mix. If the dog is used to walk through assisted living and "brighten" the day of the residents with someone else caring for the dog fine. If you are the primary care giver and want to take on a dog to care for as well, think this over. It will be an added headache. It may well be a safety concern as the dog can trip a senior with mobility or memory issues.

If it is a caregiver who is lonely and wants a dog for company, again it will distract from the caregiving. Get the dog once the elder passes away and you are in the grieving process and need a happy distraction.

Good luck.
A well-meaning friend of my mother's gave her a little Chihuahua 6 months ago... I had no idea this was happening and probably couldn't have talked my mother out of it before hand even if I had known. My mother is a few weeks from turning 94, and it's been extremely painful for me to watch and witness my mother's lack of patience with this sweet dear little dog. I worked very hard to research and find a wonderful family who love chi dogs and were committed to adopting little Lola... but my mother wouldn't let it happen... I am a dog lover and have successfully adopted rescue dogs who needed extra care, patience and understanding to help them adapt and become happy, adjusted, trained and happy forever family members... therefore, it's an additional burden for me having to worry about Lola's (lack of) care as I'm trying to be the caretaker of my mother's wellbeing and health care.. ! I knew my mother was a poor candidate to take in a dog full-time, but if I'd had any control, I would have picked an older dog who was house-trained and sedate, not a young, busy little rescue Chihuahua who wants to PLAY PLAY PLAY and... as it turns out... is not house trained (and my mother will NOT follow ANY instructions about helping Lola learn... etc. etc. So when Lola relieves herself somewhere in the house, my mother yells and hollers at the poor dog and has even admitted to swinging a rug and hitting her with it!! All completely upsetting and confusing to poor Lola.... But I can't talk my mother into letting me find Lola another home.. at least not yet. If things get worse, and they will, either for Lola or my mother will have another health emergency, and there have been at least two every year for the past 5 years... THEN I will remove Lola and I promise, I will make sure she is place in a wonderful forever home with competent, educated-about-dogs, dog-loving people!) I.e., I say all that to say, even without dementia, a very old person is generally not a good candidate for taking on the full-time care of a new dog... (But a visiting dog is a GREAT BLESSING to old folks... and I believe dogs are a great blessing to all of us).
Someone suggested visiting a dog park. Great idea but, if you do, stay outside the fence. A group of dogs running and playing can knock you flat. I did dog park daily for 14 years (when I had no back yard) and I'd always keep to the perimeter where there were trees handy to hang on to. I told everyone I was practising pole dancing :)
If you live with the person then please go through a reputable rescue group. Explain what kind of dog you need and what temperment. A good rescue will allow you some time for the dog to live with you on a trial basis. if it doesn't work out they will take the dog back or work on training. Please don't buy a dog. That only encourages breeders and many could care less if the dog ends up in the pound as long as they have your money.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support