How to choose a pet-friendly retirement residence

Are you considering whether a retirement residence may make your life better, and you’re searching for one that can also accommodate your beloved pet?

More and more retirement residences are now pet-friendly, allowing seniors to move their furry or feathered friend in with them to their new home.

The positive effects of pet ownership on an older adult’s health and well-being are now recognized,* and in addition to being pet-friendly, many residences also bring in therapy animals for all to enjoy. Some residences, such as Chartwell Waterford in Oakville, Ontario, even offer a dedicated pet-washing station for residents with dogs.

If you or your senior loved one are pet owners and are considering a retirement residence move, here are some important questions to ask before moving in:

  • Is there a written policy regarding pets?
  • Are there any restrictions on the kind of pets, as well as the weight/size/breed/number of creatures?
  • Is my suite large enough for my pet to move around in comfortably (including any beds, crates, toys, and food and water dishes)?
  • Is there a designated place that’s safe and well-lit to take a pet for a walk and do its business?
  • How many other pet owners are there in the residence, and what kind of pets do they have? Could I meet one or two of them?
  • What common areas within the residence are pets allowed/not allowed?
  • Is the neighbourhood appropriate for walks, i.e., a safe community that is pedestrian-friendly with sidewalks, trees, etc.?
  • Is there a veterinarian nearby (if changing from previous vet)?
  • Is there a reputable local dog walker available if needed?

Some residences may also ask if you have a care plan in place for your pet, should you be unable to look after it for any reason. This could be in the form of a written assurance that a specific family member or friend will step in. It’s best to discuss your pet with residence staff before the move, as they may wish to meet your pet first to make sure everyone will be happy in their new home.

If you want to know which Chartwell residences allow pets, call our Contact Centre today at 1-855-461-0685, or visit

The following source provided a reference for this blog:
1. Beetz A, Uvnäs-Moberg K, Julius H, Kotrschal K. “Psychosocial and psychophysiological effects of human-animal interactions: the possible role of oxytocin,” (July 9, 2012), online