Directly above view of positive senior woman in soft cardigan cuddling favorite Beagle dog while sleeping on sofa

Having a dog as a companion can bring a great deal of joy and fulfillment into a senior’s life. If you’re thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, we’ve got tips on choosing the best dogs for seniors and why it makes sense to live in a dog-friendly community.

Pet-friendly senior living is popular today, and many communities provide special amenities for dog owners. Fellowship Village is a great example of a community focused on welcoming four-legged residents as companion pets for seniors.

The community is currently planning a network of picturesque walking trails throughout their 72-acre campus, featuring bird-watching blinds for nature enthusiasts and boardwalks over wetland areas. Walkways and park seating are being expanded, and a new observation deck is planned at Fellowship Village’s popular Ephesus Pond. These are all wonderful places to walk with your dog and get a little fresh air and social interaction with friends.

Additionally, the new Fellowship Village Dog Park will soon offer residents the opportunity to allow their dogs to run and play in a fenced-in area either independently or with other dogs. It promises to be a slice of dog heaven right here in Basking Ridge, New Jersey!

The bottom line is, you’re never too old to have a pet, provided your health and your lifestyle can accommodate a dog’s needs. It’s been well documented that caring for a dog has many health benefits, both physical and emotional.

Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression and cope better in stressful situations thanks to lower blood pressure. It’s even been found that pet owners over age 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Not surprisingly, having a dog also helps increase your daily physical activity and reduce stress. A dog also provides companionship and unconditional love, both which help fend off feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Most importantly, owning a dog gives you something to care about and care for besides yourself. That can add healthy structure to your life and give you purpose, not to mention a happier outlook.

Before You Snap on That Leash …

Keep in mind it’s important to consider the breed of dog, as some demand more time, attention and exercise than others. You can browse numerous online resources that can tell you all about the various personalities of different dog breeds, such as the American Kennel Club, The Spruce online, and Dogtime.com. To find wonderful adoptable dogs by breed, check out Petfinder.com. These sites can help clarify the ideal characteristics of the best dogs for seniors. and you can even drill down your search to look for best dog breeds for apartments, as well as best dog breeds for seniors. 

Some of the basic responsibilities of dog ownership include feeding, walking, grooming, vet visits, and knowing who can care for your dog if you go out of town or come down with a cold, for example. These days, it’s relatively easy to find a dog walker if you need one simply by asking friends for referrals. That’s also the best way to find a reliable care provider should you want to take a trip or have other reasons to be away from home.

Dog Breeds for Independent Living Residents

There are pups suited for senior apartments of every kind, and while a dog’s size and weight are certainly important, other factors to consider include:

  • Age — While they’re cute as can be, keep in mind puppies and kittens need a lot of extra care in the early years, which is why older dogs are worth a look. They can make wonderful companions and often are already housebroken, crate trained and leash trained. Some even may know a few obedience commands and tricks! 
  • Breed health — If you decide to get a purebred dog, be sure to browse breed sites to investigate potential known health issues. These shouldn’t necessarily turn you off a breed, but it’s important to be aware that some breeds are prone to conditions like hip dysplasia or ear infections, for example, which could spell vet bills down the road.
  • Energy level — Breed sites can also tell you how much exercise a dog will require daily, whether it’s walks or playtime. Some dogs are quite content napping in your lap all day, while others need more activity, or they can become destructive out of boredom.
  • Grooming needs — Some dog breeds only need a simple nail clipping now and then; others need a full-on grooming from head to tail every six weeks. Again, this is simply a time and financial consideration to keep in mind.
  • Breed instincts — Some dogs have a desire to “herd” just about anything — including you. This might mean they get underfoot and could cause you to fall. Other dogs are known barkers and will yap at every noise or activity outside the window. Read the breed sites and be informed. Better yet, ask friends, family, and even your local shelter for advice.

Below are a few tried-and-true small and medium-size breeds to consider that make good companion pets for seniors:

Small Dogs for Seniors: Easygoing, affectionate, adaptable. Weight: 7-12 lbs. Shih Tzu, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle

Medium Dogs for Seniors: Fun-loving, smart, relatively low maintenance. Weight: 10-19 lbs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier (Westie), Miniature Poodle

Fellowship Village Loves Dogs as Much as You Do

We know how having a dog can add to the quality of our residents’ lives, and we love when well-behaved furry friends join our independent living community! 

To explore what it’s like to live in Fellowship Village and how pets can fit right into our relaxed, friendly lifestyle, we invite you to get in touch with us today to ask questions and schedule a tour. We look forward to meeting you.