Follow
Share

Is it even a good idea? We live in a building that only allows dogs under 20 pounds.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
DON'T DO IT! My neighbor 86 just lost her husband, Her daughter lives on the other coast tells her to get a puppy. Against my better wishes she got one, it is driving her crazy and tearing her house apart. it does give her company but she does not have dementia. She is pending surgery, I am trying to get her to go to the other coast to have it done (no relatives here) Looks like Ill be stuck with the dog. Don't do it, too many issues! Get her a fish in a tank!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

We had a standard poodle when the kids were small, I can't remember ever having a problem with pet hair. The dog may have been smart but he was bonded with BIL and wouldn't listen to anything sis or I said, a very willful dog.

My mom became afraid of animals somewhere along the way, even a gentle cat freaks her out. She has taken to her stuffed animal though, she fully realizes it is a teddy bear but it seems to bring her comfort when she is afraid or lonely.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

AmyGrace - how is the shedding with your poodles? I've often thought of getting one.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Rainmom. Right you are. Poodles are the second smartest breed in "dogdom". In fact, if you don't own them, they own you (with lots of love and they have a great sense of humor) I've known many seniors who have had toy poodles. The one down side is the ongoing grooming (daily combing, brushing teeth, bathing once every 1-2 weeks, and the haircuts at least once every 6 weeks because poodles have hair, not fur, so it grows just like ours)
The good thing is, there are mobile groomers (expensive though) who will come to senior facilities. Having two minis, I probably spend 14-18 hours a week caring for them, one way or the other - not counting long walks or dog park visits (on non-grooming weeks) and bathing and grooming both takes about 3 hours each every few weeks. But I wouldn't have it any other way - they repay me with so much love and its a great bonding experience!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Poodles are suspose to be one of the smartest breed of dogs. Of course there are alway exceptions. I had a golden retriever that was dumb as a bag of rocks and hyperactive. Belle even flunked obedience training - twice! However she was very sweet and tried her best to please. I'm grateful that my hubby is so generous and patient - Belle became his dog and they adored each other.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

No, Mulatta- you misread. I said the first time I read that idea- a while ago - I thought it was silly. I now think it's brilliant and definitely worth trying.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My MIL had a little white poodle, Nicky. She was a big pet person all her life but hadn't had a dog in several years. After she was diagnosed with dementia her son gave her the poodle. The dog loved her and she loved him. He was mistreated, she would forget to give him water, he constantly had fleas, about everything that the other posters mentioned was true for MIL and Nick. He would also bark incessantly whenever anyone would come over and MIL would start yelling at him and that was worse than his barking. He was/is a very smart little dog and people loved him (except for the fleas) and he would remember who gave him treats (or water) and loved to perform for them. Before MIL passed, she asked her sister to take care of her dog. The sister had a Chihuahua. A teacup named Pepper. Pepper was very old and really didn't like other dogs around but Pepper mostly slept and soon passed away and it was a real blessing that the sister had Nick. Now Nick has a wonderful home and is well cared for. He has even had cataract surgery. His new mama has dementia also and feeds him only treats BUT I see that he always has food and he has a water dispenser that is filled once a week which keeps him with plenty of fresh water. Her groomer picks him up and brings him home once a month. Her vet is an old friend. I guess I'm from a different time but I think dogs like a job and this little guy knows he is indispensable and gives and receives a lot of love. He sleeps on her bed at night. If she takes a nap, he takes a nap. He sits in her lap most of the day. She taught him to fetch his various toys and she puts them away every night right before she gets her coffee pot ready for the next day. He loves to hide his treats (only has two teeth left) and will play ball with her. He always barks when someone comes to the door but she thinks that is great. He is very quick and never seems to get underfoot. She uses a cane and is constantly up and down letting him in and out and does not mind doing it. I think it is great exercise. She is almost 90 and he is probably 8-10. He has a big back yard to run and play in but he really would rather be with her at all times. When her aid comes to bath her, he sits outside the bathroom door waiting for her to come out. I know if my aunt passed before Nick, I would take care of him. I'm sure you would take care of your moms dog as well and he would be company for you after she is gone. Poodles have to be groomed and they have bad teeth but they don't shed and as I've mentioned, they are very smart. He is a lot of company for her. I'm not sure if Nick is a Miniature or a Toy but he is light as a feather and very soft when he hops on her lap. Good luck with your search.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My mom is here and my 3lb chihuahua too. Twiggy is an outside dog, she is 13, and she was rescued. So........not your typical chihuahua, thank goodness. She is beginning to slow down, to the point that when we are walking out in the patio, back yard, we cannot make sudden moves because she does not SEE as well as she used to. I can tell she has cataracts, because the light that shines into her eyes, reflects right back.
When hubby is cleaning the yard, NOW he has to stop, look, slow down, so he won't run over her. And he is mentally healthy and very physically active at 73.
Mom likes Twiggy, but for just a few minutes. We've been together 5 yrs. and I can see mom getting uptight around Twiggy. She says "Oh, you are going to hurt her", Oh, watch out, "you are going to step on her"......."AAAHHH, she is right behind you".
Twiggy's paws have lost traction, any of you who has had dogs for a lifetime know what this means. So, T can slip and fall in front of OUR feet, and WE are GOING to FALL.
When mom (after much begging and coaxing) walks out back, I go with her. I did not use to, but now T can cross her path, or whatever and neither one of them is fast enough to know better.
I see T, and I see she has not too too long left...........and I do grieve as well for her.

Ok, so, Rain, you thought my earlier comment was silly huh??? That's ok. That is why we come here and contribute. Let the person take it all with a grain of salt.

They do make the "fake" pets........I don't know who or where, but you know our motto: "Google It!"

Hugs,

M 8 8
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You didn't state in your question if your mother is violent in her dementia. My mother is only mildly demented but isn't combative - at least not yet. She's also bedridden. I originally adopted our two dogs for my mother as companionship, something for her to nurture after my father expired. Mom lives me and I've come to love having our dogs because they need their daily walk and this forces me out of the home for a little while - a welcomed relief as the walks give me a chance to clear my head and enjoy the sunshine. Our dogs are larger and more than 20 pounds. I think both the temperment of the dog and how the dog was treated from its previous owner(s) no matter the breed is important. For example, our dogs are senior dogs (Beagle and a Beagle-mix) so they're no longer anxious and excited like they were when they were puppies. Now they're laid back and, well, sleeping and relaxing all day long. Maybe you should consider looking into getting a senior dog or maybe even senior cat. From my experience senior pets tend to be very easy going because they're so appreciative of being adopted. I think they actually know they're in their last stages of life and just want to die alongside any family who will love them until their deaths. However, with senior dogs they also have typical senior health issues so I guess you would also need to consider this, too, when deciding on an age of the dog. Our tri-color Beagle now has doggy Alzheimer's. He's only in the initial stages.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

About what pamz said - the first time I read here the suggestion to get an elderly loved one with dementia, a stuffed animal or a doll - I admit I thought "that's just silly"! However, a couple of months ago a new lady moved into my moms nursing home - everytime I see her she has some sort of stuffed animal in her arms - can't even tell what it's suspose to be as she is loving on it so hard. Obviously this stuffed animal means the world to this lady. So - don't write it off - do you have any old stuffed toys around? Give it a shot - perhaps this could be the simplest solution of all.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

One of my patients families got her something called Companion Cat ( about 100.00) That sucker looks/acts/sounds real! It meows/purrs/rolls over. Battery operated and looks real. It freaked us all out at first, but it really calms her down. Maybe they make puppies?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

A suggestion: why not contact your local senior organizations and find out if someone has a therapy dog. Perhaps having a "visit" once in a while would make your mom happy and have something to look forward to and you would not have the responsibility for a full time pet (or the worry of what to do with it if it doesn't work out)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

A few things to consider: small dogs get underfoot and they leave toys around. I have two miniature poodles who follow me from room to room, always. I have to be very careful I don't trip over them either standing behind me or lying in the middle of the floor. Also, as your mother's dementia progresses, she will change and your work load will get harder.
Whether it would help your mother on a short term or long term basis is hard to tell since everyone is different. My mom used to have dogs when she was younger. Over the past 10 years, I brought one of my "girls" to visit her while she was in independent living and then in assisted living. (She had dementia which slowly grew worse) She paid attention to her for a few minutes, then sort of pushed her aside. When she went to a nursing home, I would bring my friendliest poodle who loved everyone. Mom barely paid attention to her. Some of the residents enjoyed petting her for a couple of minutes. Not to say your mother would be the same, just to say that was my experience with trying to get mom involved with something warm and fuzzy.
I'm a major dog lover, and I suggest you do not get a dog, unless YOU want a dog for yourself. If you do get one, get an older one, rescue dog, very gentle and plan that you will care for and love that dog its whole life.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Good Lord, JessieBelle! My neighbor across the street has three mini dachshunds and they are the barkingest dogs I've ever seen (heard?). Maybe because there are three of them - but they bark round the clock. That breed are also diggers - their nature as they were breed to chase rodents! The three across the steet are forever digging an escape tunnel under a fence...often when their parents are out. Since I worry about them running off or getting hit by a car, I end up getting my husband to herd them up to our house and they have a play-date with my babies. Again - maybe cause there's three but even for the short time they're in my house, they are a handful!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

If you decide to get a small dog, I do have a recommendation: Cavailer King Charles Spaniel. Their official nickname is Love Sponge of the Dog World. I've had seven dogs over the past thirty years, plus been a life long dog lover. I now have two of these little darlings - they are hands down the sweetest dogs I've ever had contact with. They average 15 - 25 pounds - mine are 15 and 20lb. They require little grooming - if fact it is discouraged cutting their hair - but their paws get pom-pom like and should be trimmed. I'd say shedding is average and they come both long and short hair. I brush my long haired boy about once a week. They are not know to bark much - my girl never barks, the boy will bark if he sees a dog walking by out the window. They don't require a lot of exercise - ours burn off a bit of energy playing with each other - to be honest, we don't walk them everyday and their in house playing seems to be enough. Our babies are happiest just sitting in someone's lap. Give them a Google- I highly recommend the breed.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

If I had to pick an inside dog with a personality suited to older folks, it would be a dachshund. You would have to make sure she didn't feed it every time it begged, though. They are such smart, stoic dogs. The need 4ever families.

I personally like the idea of fostering to see if it works out. It will give a homeless dog a chance at a new life. Be sure to get a stoic dog, though. You wouldn't want a skittish dog around someone with dementia.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

HappyCityLady, have you looked at Spaniel-Dachshund Mix, Pomeranian or Papillon? I think they are all lively dogs but not usually hyper and the ones we've met are very sweet and smart.

Things to look out for: your mom dropping her pills on the floor, the dog potentially scratching her (we have a really hyper terrier-mix who has drawn blood from both my grandparents by just jumping up to greet them -- the same thing would not break the skin of a younger person), or a yappy dog personality whose voice will agitate your mom.

Our experience was grandparents adopted a dog on their own when they were about 80. The dog was quiet and had health issues and was a very nice dog but not "bubbly" -- my grandpa who instigated the adoption rarely paid attention to her. The poor girl passed away shortly after my grandma died. He did however interact more with my dog who was in his face all the time.

A couple years later I asked him if he'd sit my cat for a few months -- we were moving and she hated travel and I wanted to get settled so she wouldn't have the travel and chaos at the same time. He fell in love with the cat and so she stayed with him (though he is finally in long term care so she can come live with me again.) Early on it was a really good thing for him emotionally; then as his dementia progressed he became obsessed with her, wanting to know where she was at all times, driving the cat and us crazy! He was overfeeding her, trying to give her lunch meat, etc. The last few months at home she was steering clear of him and also avoided him like the plague when he had UTIs.

A major plus was that visitors liked the cat and would spend extra time over to hang out with her (she's very friendly.) It gives people something to talk about with your elder, and I think if you were to take your mom out with the dog, people will be more likely to make eye contact, smile, or say hi. If your mom just has mild dementia, the dog or cat can be a real friend.

If you are also looking forward to having a pet, and especially if you have an area of your living quarters where the dog can get away from your mom if she wants to, then in the short term it can be a very nice thing. Dementia is so difficult and unpredictable, it's so hard to know how your mom will change and what might bother her or the dog. If you would be happy to have an animal companion too, then it might also be nice for you to have a little fur friend around.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hi HappyCityLady. Are you planning on taking on most of the care for the dog yourself in your home or would you be leaving the pet with your mother?

I have to echo the sentiments of others here regarding dementia patients and dogs...especially small ones. Though there are some breeds that tend to be calmer, remember that small dogs still need a considerable amount of care (and sometimes MORE attention because of their lap dog status).

Before my Dad was diagnosed, our beloved Yorkie suffered at the hand of dementia. Dad's sight also wasn't great, so Gizmo often got stepped on, wouldn't be fed or watered regularly, have repeated accidents in the house which Dad couldn't see or smell that would be walked through and tracked over the home...

and due to Dad's declining judgement reasoning, he would feed the dog harmful things (a large can of Pork and Beans isn't dog food), insist the dog was sick and give him adult medicine which would make him sick... it was awful.

It's ultimately up to you, but really consider the pros and cons of having a live animal (especially a small one) around a dementia patient for extended periods of time, especially if you're planning on leaving the animal unattended.

We're providing this advice in love. Good luck with your decision.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Yes, we have a dog and my mom is completely uninterested in it. I would not ever get an animal or anything that requires more care at this point unless I were getting it for myself.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

If your Mom is having a love affair with a Newfoundland dog, which is the size of a small pony, do you think your Mom would be happy with a dog that only weighs 10-15 lbs? She might be very disappointed.

If that isn't an issue, it's not which small breed to consider but more the personality of the dog. One thing I have noticed at my Dad's senior living facility, those who have small lap type dogs, my gosh those dogs can bark up a storm.

Another thing, the color of the dog. If you have beige carpets, do not get a beige color dog, he/she will blend in and your Mom may accidentally keep stepping on the dog, as someone who is in their mid to late 80's or 90's will have some type of seeing problem. We notice that with our black cats, they are hard to see when sleeping on the carpeted stairs or on the rugs when the room has dim light.

My cats didn't like it when my parents came over to visit once my parents started using canes, that sound on the main wood floor was scary to the cats. Plus we had to raise the volume on the TV to REALLY LOUD, and that would scatter everyone out of the room, including myself at times. A pet has superior hearing compared to us humans.

There's a lot to think about.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

ArmyRetired , adding a dog to our routine is no problem. I'm concerned with getting the wrong type of dog. We've had big dogs in our family I understand the difference between a shepherd and a collie or St. Bernard temperament. Never had a small dog. So, I'm going to google "fostering a small dog" and see what comes up. This may work for us or be a very bad idea. But mom seems to be more" present" around dogs, maybe because don't care if she can't find her words? Thanks for your suggestion .
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Rainmom I completely forgot about toys on the floor. For the past 5 years mom and her doctor's Newfundland have a sort of love affair. She's like the dog whisper even with our "dog neighbors") Her doctor suggested I get her a dog, my building has weight limitations. So I was wondering if anyone here (with dementia or caregiver) has a small dog or is knowledgeable about small dog breeds. I absolutely appreciate and welcome everyone's comments. Truly. But....yeah...I was taken aback by the rehome the dog, remember to give water to the dog, neglect the dog statments. I don't believe anyone was being mean or nasty to me just maybe "very" concerned about the dog. No further offense taken :)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Have you thought about fostering a small dog to see how it works out with your mother? Dogs need exercise every day and to be taken to a vet at least once a year. Can you manage those responsibilities while also caring for your mother?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

HappyCityLady - ...just asked who would be taking care of the dog after your mom passes - no hidden agenda- just information gathering. Okay - back to the topic - as I recently posted on a similar thread: My mom had a cat that she adored - to the point she devoted a lengthy paragraph in her DPOA papers regarding the care of the cat when she could no longer care for it. However, occasionally Kitty would accident scratch my mother - who has dementia - and it would just set mom off. My mother would chase the cat around her apartment intending to spank him! Thankfully Kitty was much faster than my mom. Also - when it became necessary to place my mom in a nursing home due to her increased, needed level of care, it became 100x more difficult for everyone because she couldn't take her cat. Lastly - there would be cat toys on the floor being a trip hazard but worst than that Kitty would purposely lay down in my mothers path when she was using her rolling walked - it's a miracle mom didn't trip on him and that she never ran him over. All these risk factors would apply to a small dog as well. This situation reminds me a bit of when a married couple has a baby to save their marriage- in most cases it only makes things more strained. There are dozens of great reasons to get a dog - providing companionship to an elderly person suffering from dementia isn't one of them - it's not fair to the dog. - Just my opinion, please don't take further offense.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Great comments above.

I think that when most people consider pets, like dogs, for people with dementia, they are thinking that the dementia patient will maintain to a certain degree and appreciate the companionship of an animal. What the family member may not anticipate is how the dementia patient will change. It's not a pleasant thing to consider. I would never have guessed that my cousin would have become the way she was with her pet. It's important to look at the stages and how things may develop. Dementia isn't just forgetting information. It involves poor judgment and bizarre behavior too.

My cousin, who has dementia, loved her cat, but as her dementia progressed, she became obsessed with the cat and her behavior became extreme and troubling. It caused the cat to become anxious and she started spraying and not using its litter box. I had to return the cat to the no kill adoption center.

The patient can become aggressive and harm the animal as well. They can be loud and unpredictable too. I don't think it's fair to have a pet in that environment as it is very stressful on the pet. And finally, if the person progresses enough, they will not be aware that there is a pet in the home as they are not able to focus or process things about their surroundings.

It seems there are many negatives and few positives. If you want your mom to have positive stimulation from a dog, then what about having a friend bring their dog for visits or contact a Therapy Dog group to have them come to her?

Plus, as others have stated, if you are providing care in your home for a dementia patient, you barely have time to eat and potty yourself, let alone a pet. The person takes up so much time. Caring for a pet involves lots of things like exercise, socialization, vet care, grooming, etc. I would really consider the feasibility of it.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

HappyCityLady, thanks for giving us more information but please reread the postings above.... everyone has said getting a dog is NOT a good idea.

Unless you yourself are very young with a ton of energy, you will find that your Mom will need more and more of your time, medical issues can happen in a flash when one is in their 80's. All it takes is one major fall to turns things around.

Being your Mom has dementia, that means she will require more and more of your time. You would find yourself not being able to give the dog the needed time it needs. And with dementia there could be a stage where your Mom no longer likes the dog and will throw things at it. That's not fair to any pet.

Yes, your parents always had big dogs, back when they probably lived in a single family house and they themselves were much younger. Your Mom is now living in an apartment building, and she has dementia... a whole different ballgame.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Caregiver03, Mulata88 & Rainmom, I truly appreciate the feed back and you sharing your personal stories. My question seeks an answer on how people with demitia do with having a small dog around? Is there a breed that would make a better or worse pet?
I'm sure you ment well for the best interest of a dog but what did I say to give you the impression I'm dropping of a dog with my mother to be responsible for it?. Or that I have to get rid of the dog when my mom passes?. So to be clear, I live with my mom and I absolutely wouldn't considered taking on the responsibility of a pet to neglect it or allow anyone including my mom to neglect it. My parents always had big dogs. Sorry if my question wasn't clear.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

No. Do not give her a dog. It would be a mistake. All cases are different, but a dog will be at her mercy and though you mean well, he would not be happy. He might trip her or cause her to have something tonworry about. My own aunt never thought tongive her belived dog water and rarely fed her. She held her constantly and forced her to go to bed when she went. Her dog was miserable. If you live with her and want another responsibility, or even if you dont, a person with dementia will not be capable of taking care of an animal. She might at first, but that would change. It's good you sought opinions. Dogs require daily exercise and can develop behavior problems. You would then be trying to rehome the dog and many people out there take themnto use as bait dogs for their pitbulls. Not all people are what they seem. I found music my mother loved. She needs human companionship. This isnt your Fault, bjt animal.companionship cannot replace human companionship.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I am so sorry HappyCity, I wholeheartedly agree with Rainmom. My full grown, senior chihuahua, 3lbs total is 13 yrs. old, and aging..........not fun to watch, and little creatures get so attached to us, their owners/mommies. Think of, when mom passes, what is / how is going the little one to feel?
When MIL passed, her dog went into a nervous breakdown, seriously. And he was not very old at all. He missed her horribly, and nobody was good enough for him.........he suffered to the point of losing all his gorgeous solid brilliant white hair *name was Whittey*, and all there was were pink skin, freckles and a bare tail.............................................................
Poor Whittey, he was miserable.
We brought him to our house, and in 10 minutes he had bitten thru the wooden fence to go gome *10 miles away *.....................
Bleeding from the gums from the splinters, we drove him right back to his home.
A neighbor volunteered to feed him, water him.
Whittey was alone for 6 months............he could not stand it anywhere but at his house...............
I am telling you...........
Get mom (don't laugh) some stuffed animals.
I got all my stuffed dolls and animals and MOM WANTED THEM IN HER ROOM..........................??????????????????
Ok, she has carefully placed them, and daily changes their "pose". Ok......whatever..........fine with me.
They even make some pets that act like the real thing, for sure, they make babies, they look lifelike, and they take their bottle, and they need diaper change. Mom might like that???

Just thinking outloud............and sharing what did happen here.

M 8 8
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Little dogs tend to live long lives - who will take care of the dog when your mother passes?
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.