When it comes to retirement communities, some older adults refuse to pursue an option that doesn’t allow them to bring their beloved pets along. After all, who could blame them? As anyone with pets knows, they are just as much a part of the family as anyone else, and life just simply wouldn’t be the same without them. For this reason, many seniors search for a pet-friendly senior living community.
Are you a pet owner or a dog lover, too? Whether you’re just beginning your search for a pet-friendly retirement community or you’re looking for the best small dog breeds to bring to your new independent living apartment, we can help.
Some Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog
When choosing a dog to live in your apartment, there are some special considerations you may need to think about. First, their size; second, their activity level; third, their likelihood of barking; and finally, their overall temperament.
It may be just as important to consider how well a new dog will get along with your existing pets, if any, as well as evaluating how much space everyone will need to move around safely. This can help to ensure success in making your home your new pet’s perfect home.
The Best Companion Dogs for Pet Ownership in Small Spaces
Before adopting or purchasing a dog, be sure to consider all the above factors, and check out a list of some of the best dog breeds to own for apartment living.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), some of the top dog breeds for apartments include those on the list below. We’re sharing a breakdown of why they might be the perfect breed for older adults in senior living communities.
Similar to bulldogs, the French bulldog is very affectionate. Great with children and good with other dogs, they can weigh in at under 28 pounds with a height of 11 to 13 inches. Known as one of the most popular small dog breeds, they tend to get along well with everyone – which is great for older adults in senior living.
French bulldogs can have big personalities, however, requiring a good amount of training and socialization. As people pleasers, they are typically easy to train.
Like the bulldog, they should never be left near water unattended and are also prone to breathing problems in hot or humid weather. If the weather is right, a short walk or outdoor play session is enough to keep them in shape.
Known for being playful, curious and peppy, the bichon frise is a lot of fun packed in a 12- to 18-pound body. The bichon frise rarely sheds, isn’t likely to drool, and often gets along with everyone. Daily play and walks are required, but watch out, because they are surprisingly fast, according to the AKC. A fenced area, perhaps a dog park, is likely a good idea to ensure they remain safe.
Generally healthy dogs, bichons may experience tooth loss and ear infections. As a result, regular dental care and ear cleaning are recommended. They are also known for being difficult to housebreak, but thanks to their eager-to-please demeanor, they can be easy to train – and positive rewards can help.
It’s important to note that bichons need to be with their family, and being left alone for extended periods can cause undesirable behaviors to arise – something older adults need to consider based on their current lifestyles. On the other hand, bichons don’t shed and are generally considered a good breed for people with allergies. Make sure to keep up on their grooming, too.
With a height of 9 to 10.5 inches and weighing 9 to 16 pounds, Shih Tzus are very affectionate and moderately playful. They can adapt to any routine and are perfect for those who love to lounge at home, making them great apartment dogs for older adults who are active yet have time to spend with their furry friend!
These dogs do not tolerate heat well, are not good swimmers, and were originally bred to be a house companion – meaning they require little exercise. Indoor playtime and short daily walks are enough for this breed.
When training a Shih Tzu, it’s best not to give in, and to instead, praise them when they do something right and stay firm in your expectations. If attending training classes, ensure methods are based on positive reinforcement, as harsh corrections should not be used with this breed.
Affectionate, moderately good with young children and other dogs, and hairless or coated, the Chinese crested can weigh anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds on average and be 11 to 13 inches tall.
The two varieties, hairless and powderpuff, do require grooming. Powderpuff varieties require brushing, while the hairless need sunscreen and are prone to skin irritations. This makes it important to take great care outdoors. Short daily walks with their owner, as well as play sessions, can easily fit their exercise needs.
Fun fact: The Chinese crested also makes a great therapy dog, but take care when training, as harsh methods can damage your relationship and cause them to not want to learn from you.
If the above small-breed dogs are not your style, you may still be able to find a dog you love with a bit of a larger size. Depending on the amount of space you have, you may be able to take home one of these gentle giants: a greyhound! Known for being independent, gentle and noble, greyhounds can range from 27 to 30 inches high and 60 to 70 pounds, depending on whether they are male or female.
While sweet tempered and independent, the AKC states that greyhounds are the cheetahs of the dog world. Although they love to lounge, they also need a regular schedule of exercise. They also need to be able to run, which needs to occur in a securely fenced area, as they may get the urge to roam.
This type of dog is usually best for active seniors.
Finding the Right Pup for You
If you haven’t seen a suggestion of a dog breed you’d love to have as a pet to care for, don’t be disheartened. There are a multitude of other options that could be perfect for you, like an American Eskimo dog, a Boston terrier or a corgi. Visit this AKC directory to learn more about some other dogs that are best for apartment living!
A Lifestyle for You and Your Furry Companion, too!
At WhiteStone, we love our community pets. From enjoying the company of our dogs in our independent living apartments to getting some exercise in our dog park or on our walking trails, our furry companions make days at WhiteStone even brighter. In fact, we love our pets so much that we even host the SPCA for pet adoption events, featuring vendors that provide training, care and more.
If you’d like to learn more about our pet-friendly policy, talk to a member of our team or one of our residency counselors. They will be able to share more information about the number of pets allowed, what the current size restrictions are, and the policies we have in place.
How WhiteStone Is Founded on Fellowship and Inspired by You
WhiteStone is Greensboro seniors’ first choice for an independent lifestyle. We offer a full continuum of care, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation and in-home care. Get in touch with us to learn more about life at WhiteStone.