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Being around animals is good for you, especially if you’re a senior. Furry companions alleviate feelings of isolation, and spending time with them provides both physical and emotional benefits. That’s why pet therapy is so popular within senior communities. Here at Veranda of Pensacola, we take this seriously, so we’re pet-friendly. (Not all senior communities are so accommodating.)

But what kind of dog is best for seniors?

Retirement communities that do allow pets usually have a maximum size limit, but beyond that, the best choice pooch depends on your own personality and lifestyle. You can take this humorous quiz to assess your dog maintenance preferences and see which breed is a great match for you.

A few things to consider

  •         Age. Yours and theirs. Puppies are adorable, but they’re a lot of work and, no matter the breed, puppies are busy! Healthy dogs can also live well beyond 10 years, depending on the breed. Therefore, many seniors opt to adopt an adult or senior dog that is also looking to enjoy retirement.
  •         Size. Even if you live where dog size doesn’t matter, a big or very active dog can present a falling hazard to some seniors (or visiting grandkids).
  •         How much exercise does the dog need? Even among smaller breeds, energy levels can vary, and the busier the breed, the more walks or play time they will need. That might be a good thing if it encourages you to exercise more, but not so much if you have limited mobility.
  •         Are you allergic to dogs? If the problem is not severe, you might consider a hypoallergenic breed like a Bichon Frisé
  •         Health issues. Some dog breeds are more prone to health problems than others. That’s especially true of brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds. These dogs all have significant breathing challenges, and problems are exacerbated by heat and humidity. So, you might think pugs and Shih Tzus are cute, but they aren’t a good choice for Pensacola’s weather.  
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These five breeds regularly make the Top Dog list with seniors:

Cavalier King Charlies Spaniel

These little cuties never outgrow their puppy looks. They love to cuddle, they’re pretty easy to train and groom, and their temperament and energy level make them comfortably at home in an apartment.


Poodles are smart and don’t shed like most other dogs, and they come in toy and miniature sizes that make them ideal for smaller living quarters. They are affectionate, adaptable, and love to exercise with you, though there’s no need to overdo it. Poodles do need periodic professional grooming.

Greyhound . . . Italian, that is

They may be famed for racing, but greyhounds are actually more on the lazy side, preferring to hang around with you to watch a movie than taking a brisk run around the neighborhood. A sedate walk is just fine with them. Greyhounds are mild-mannered and easy to train. Of course, if you live in an apartment that restricts pet size, a standard greyhound won’t make the cut. No worries, an Italian Greyhound offers the same attributes in a smaller size.

Miniature Schnauzer

Lots of spunk in a not-too-big package, mini schnauzers are big on playtime. That makes them a great choice for active seniors. Or take a ball with you on walks, so your pup can play fetch while you take a break. Despite all that energy, mini schnauzers are low maintenance and well-adapted to apartment living.

Great American Shelter Dog

Mixed-breed dogs are often the most fun because each one is unique. And mixed breed dogs are less likely to suffer from breed-specific health conditions. If you’re looking for a furry companion to share your life here at Veranda at Pensacola, your perfect match could be waiting for you at the Pensacola Humane Society.    

Pet-Friendly senior living at Veranda

While finding your ideal pooch is important, finding an ideal retirement community is an even bigger priority for seniors who want to stay as active as possible and live life to the fullest. Whether you’re looking for independent or assisted living, we hope you’ll consider joining us at Veranda of Pensacola. Contact us to learn more.


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