According to the U.S. News and World Report, seniors can reap a whole slew of health benefits just by sharing their lives with a beloved animal companion—regardless of whether their pet of choice is a dog, cat, rabbit, or another type of animal. With benefits like a healthier body mass index (BMI) and a reduced risk of loneliness, inactivity, and isolation, there are plenty of reasons why seniors may choose to welcome an animal companion into their lives. However, senior pet owners may face some challenges as well—especially if they choose to transition into an assisted living community.
While many assisted living communities are pet-friendly, finding a facility that welcomes your animal companion, meets your budget, and accommodates your other needs isn’t always simple. For some tips on finding a pet-friendly assisted living community and caring for your animal companion once you move in, read on!
Finding an Animal-Friendly Assisted Living Community
When you’re ready to transition into an assisted living community, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly facilities if you want to take your animal companion along and if rehoming them simply isn’t an option. Typically, you can begin your search online before contacting several different facilities to schedule a tour and obtain additional information about each community’s pet policies.
When obtaining additional information from each pet-friendly assisted living community, you’ll want to find out whether the facility prohibits animals of certain species, breeds, and sizes—as some may restrict larger dogs weighing more than 20 lbs. Additionally, some facilities may only accept fish, dogs, cats, rabbits, and small birds. Before selecting a community, it’s important to ask as many questions as possible to determine whether the facility is right for you and your pet.
Helping Your Pet with the Transition
As the American Society on Aging reminds us, transitioning into assisted living can be an emotionally challenging time in any senior’s life—and it’s often difficult on companion animals as well. However, there are a few things seniors can do to help their pets adjust to a new home as outlined by Starwood Animal Transport in their blog from September 2015. These include:
● Setting up the pet’s living area before anything else.
● Sticking to the pet’s normal routine, including regular feedings, walks, and play times.
● Letting the animal hide or relax in a quiet space until he’s ready to explore the new area.
While you may be tempted to purchase new toys and bedding for your animal companion before moving into your assisted living facility, it’s important to wait until after you’ve moved in and your pet has adjusted to his new home. As animals adjust to a new home, they need their favorite items to feel relaxed in their surroundings.
Protecting Your Pet from Fleas
While pet-friendly communities will allow you to live happily with your beloved animal companion, it’s important to protect your pet from any potential health hazards that could pose a risk to you and your furry friend—including bites from fleas and ticks. After all, the last thing you’ll want is to invite these biting insects into your new home with you! According to the Atlanta Humane Society, biting insects are not only harmful to your pet, but to you and other humans as well.
To protect your canine companion from fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, you may choose to purchase a special type of medication such as Frontline Plus or K9 Advantix—as these are formulated to repel and kill biting insects as explained by Pet Life Today. If you prefer a natural approach, however, you could try spritzing a mixture of apple cider vinegar directly onto your dog or cat’s coat.
Before purchasing flea medication for your pup, it’s important to do plenty of research on the product you’re considering to ensure that you’re buying the safest, most reliable medicine for your pet. Additionally, you may choose to contact your local veterinarian for assistance in selecting a product.
Senior pet owners are often happier and healthier than those who don’t share their lives with animal companions, but pet ownership isn’t always easy—especially when it’s time to transition into assisted living. However, many assisted living communities do accept animals of certain breeds, species, and sizes, and these tips will help you to find and transition into the perfect facility for you and your pet.
Bark ATL extends a special thanks to our guest blogger, Cindy Aldridge of Ourdogfriends.org, who authored this post