Pet-Loving Seniors – at Home or in Assisted Living

Perhaps you are one of the many pet-loving seniors, whose best friends are of the four-legged variety. Following rehabilitation, what would happen to your dog if you would move into an assisted living facility? Would you still be able to care for your pet at home?

August 1-8 is the International Assistance Dog Week so this article is dedicated to the trainers of those special animals and the dogs themselves.

Dogs have many uses, as company for seniors, as protective friends and as guides to the sigh-challenged.

Lets look at the bond between a senior and their doggy pets, and recommendations for the top ten dogs for seniors.


A Pet-Loving Senior in Rehab

You find yourself in a great rehabilitation center. Full of hope as you recover, you start making plans, trying to decide whether you will return home after your stay in short-term rehab. Perhaps you will decide to move into an assisted living facility.

You might be able to accommodate your pet’s needs as well as yours, or you may have to choose a new canine friend.

Which kind of pet dog is a suitable companion in an assisted living facility?

Then again, if you go home, which kind of pet dog will be a good companion at home?


Benefits of Owning a Dog

Lots of research has be carried out in this interesting field. Pets are good for seniors – that statement wins hand down.

Here are some of the benefits that owning a pet can bring:

  • Physical Health – studies have found a correlation between senior pet owners and lower levels of depression, stroke and cardiac disease.
  • Emotional Health – the opportunity to express love and giving and connection. Stress, heart rate and blood pressure benefit from the so-called ‘feel-good’ hormones released as a result of having a pet.
  • Quality of Life – a senior might feel that they have a better life since they own a pet dog.
  • Physical Fitness and Fresh Air – seniors can get outdoors for a walk with their furry companion. It feels good to be out doors and it feels good to have a canine companion. Even if you are limited in mobility, an assistant can push your wheelchair while you hold on to the dog’s leash.
  • Socializing – Meet other dog owners, and have something to talk about. Go dog-walking with a friend who also has a canine friend.


Top 10 Dog Breeds that Work Well with a Senior Lifestyle

Here are 10 top choices for doggy pets for pet-loving seniors.

Make a point to meet the dog to see if your characters gel, before you make a purchase.


A smaller dog, friendly, charming, loves its owner. Playful but does not requires a lot of exercise. May shed hairs, which might be a problem. Frequent bathing is not necessary. Good with children.



Dedicated and loyal animal. Child friendly. More on the active side. Come in a variety of sizes.


Cocker Spaniel

Cute friendly doggy nature. Usually about 20 pounds, which is too big for some assisted living communities. Affectionate, but require grooming. Medium in terms of being energetic. So maybe not so good for you if you have limited mobility.



The world’s smallest dog, it makes a good companion, intelligent in doggy terms, can get possessive of having all of the owner’s attention. They can cost $500-$1,500.


Boston Terrier

Loves spending time with owner, small friendly, attentive to owner’s needs. This easy going breed would be content to simply sit next to the owner on the couch.


Shih Tzu

An alert dog, with a tendency to bark. These dogs are popular because they are small, easy to look after and healthy in themselves. These friendly little canines can cost between $1,800 – $3,600. They grow a long luxurious coat that needs to be groomed. Since they are not very active, they will be content to sit, nestled comfortably next to or, on the owner.


Needing plenty of exercise, this breed is suitable for active seniors. Loyalty and independence are trademarks of this cure, friendly type of dog. These dogs are handsome and relaxed around other pets.


It is like a mini dog, a real people-pleaser. They do not need so much exercise, as long as they get enough attention. They can be a little on the loud side. Cute and fluffy fur, makes you want to stoke them. They do not eat that much.


Dubbed a ‘therapy’ dog. Loving and small, they enjoy a snuggle and rub from the owner. Daily brushing and professional grooming every 6-8 weeks is required to clip their coat. Here’s the bite – you need to brush their teeth at least three times a week to avoid dental problems.


Assisted Living Communities and Pets

Pet-loving seniors, be sure to check out the rules of any assisted living community before you sign up with your pet.

Some communities have size or pet type restrictions. Some don’t allow pets at all.


Bow-wow and Woof-woof…..I found a Friend

We have seen some of the fantastic benefits of owning a pet. Dogs have always been popular pets. There are of course many other options. A pet that will help senior to achieve other goals in their life, such as keeping a healthy level of physical activity, can be seen as an investment for a longer healthier life.

Pet-loving seniors can enjoy companionship, physical and non-physical benefits of canine friendship. Some types of dogs are known for their affection and loyalty. Family members might be comforted that their own loved one is not alone, but has a constant companion. They might agree that the doggy pet does indeed increase their loved one’s quality of life, where ever they live, be it at home or in an assisted living facility.


Pet-loving seniors will love this cute Shih Tzu Puppy!

Pet-loving seniors will love this cute Shih Tzu Puppy!

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash