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Pet ownership among seniors is associated with numerous benefits regarding physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. For example, older adults who own a pet tend to get more exercise than those who don’t. The responsibilities that come with pet ownership can also help seniors stave off cognitive decline, while the companionship provided by a pet can do wonders for providing a sense of purpose and increasing overall happiness. 

Though the benefits are many, there are also challenges that come with owning a pet, especially for seniors who are considering a move into an assisted living community. Below, New York Dog Nanny discusses some of these challenges, helping you decide if a pet-friendly assisted living community is the right choice and providing tips on helping your pet acclimate to their new environment.  

Determining Whether It’s the Right Move 

While there are many assisted living communities that welcome pets, there are usually a number of guidelines and restrictions established for those communities. However, before you consider such policies, it’s important to assess your and your pet’s situation. 

For example, if you have a large breed of dog or a breed that has a reputation for aggressive behavior, it might be hard to find a community that accepts your pet. Even if you find one, you may have to compromise some of your preferences in terms of location, amenities, and so on. Also, if your pet is used to having a lot of open space to play and run around, know that an assisted living community will most likely offer limited space for such activities. This is one reason why cats are a popular choice for these communities. 

Furthermore, consider whether or not you can take proper care of your pet while living in an assisted living community. This includes ensuring that you are in good enough health and have the resources to provide the care they need. 

Finding a facility where both you and your pet will thrive starts with good, old-fashioned research. Use a platform like to search for facilities in your area of choice. A quick search for assisted living or nursing homes in San Diego will yield dozens of options. Pay attention to the most highly rated ones to narrow down your list, then contact each one to learn more about their rates, amenities, and, yes, pet policies.

Helping Your Pet Stay Healthy

If you determine that joining an assisted living community is the right decision, you will need to ensure that your pet maintains their health during and after the move. This includes getting them lots of exercise and keeping them on a healthy diet. Since dry dog food is less messy, it can be the best option when moving to an assisted living community. 

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility

When you have a plan in place for your move, it’s time to narrow down your options for assisted living communities. This is when the policies of each community will play a major role. Again, you will need to contact each community you are considering to discuss any guidelines and restrictions they may have for pets. Once you’ve identified your top choices, contact the community for pet-related information.

Along with breed and behavior, you can expect to discuss things like noise complaints and the age of your pet. For instance, many assisted living communities will not allow pets unless they are at least one year old and are housebroken. You may also need to present proof of vaccination, designate a local caregiver in the event that you are ever temporarily unable to care for your pet, and pay an additional deposit.

There are tons of benefits that come with owning a pet in your golden years, so giving your pet up may not sound ideal. Research communities in your area, and consider your situation to determine whether an assisted living community is a good place for you and your pet to live. Make sure you are taking steps to keep your pet healthy throughout the process, and factor in each community’s pet policies when figuring out which one to choose.

photo credit: Image via Pexels

This article is brought to you by New York Dog Nanny, where we center creating ways for your dog to get their needs met proactively and holistically through our training program. In our eyes, needs are not negotiable and when a dog’s needs are met regularly you have a happy, healthy furry family member. For more information, please contact us today!

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