Here are a few things to consider before moving your pet into a 55+ community.

Important members of any family, research has shown that pets are instrumental in providing mental and emotional happiness to their owners. As such, when it comes time to start looking into an active adult community, one of the first questions you’ll likely ask yourself is what is the community’s policy on pets? Though a majority of communities are inviting to your four-legged friend(s), there are still a number of pet policies that are important to know beforehand.

Animal Restrictions

When it comes to having pets, most families will likely have the typical pet like a dog or cat. But not every family is the same, many homes have non-traditional pets like reptiles and rodents. Should you have an unusual pet, make sure to ask the community that you’re interested in to see if they’ll allow your pet. Communities can be very selective about which kinds of animals they want inside, so it's always a good idea to find out as soon as possible.

Home Types

Most active adult communities will place restrictions on pets based on the type of home you’re looking to buy. For those who live in single-family homes or attached homes, such as townhomes, attached villas, and duplexes, pets are almost always allowed, though there may be specific guidelines to follow. These might have to do with how many animals are allowed in each home or a maximum weight limit that each animal must be under.

When it comes to apartments, residents are likely to have a greater number of policies to keep in mind. Because of the close proximity between each apartment, animals that bark excessively or are (stereotypically) aggressive with other people or animals may not be allowed inside.

In general, there are other policies to know for when you have your pets outside the house. To avoid any potential incidents, dogs are often required to have a leash on them at all times. This likely won’t apply when the dog is within a fenced-in yard or in a dog park if the community has one. A leash will ensure that pets aren’t running around freely and lowers the chances of an accident taking place.

Dog Parks

As mentioned, many active adult communities have dog parks to explore. These areas are set up so that dog lovers can sit around and talk with one another while allowing their four-legged companion the chance to socialize with others of their kind. These areas will likely have their own set of rules to follow, This includes how many dogs can be within the area at the same time and how long each pet can spend there. A time limit will ensure that even in a larger community, every pet has the chance to run around and enjoy themselves. Depending on the size of your pet, a park might also have separate areas for small, medium, and large dogs.

There are many communities that include their own unique dog parks. Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, SC, SaddleBrooke in Tucson, AZ and Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio, CA are just a few examples of these communities.

Waste Management 

Another important policy is for cleaning up any waste that your animal leaves behind. Though it is common courtesy to pick up after your animal, there is always the fear that some might not have gotten the memo. Failure to clean up after your pet is likely to result in fines or other forms of discipline.

While many active adult communities have a large number of specific policies in place for pets, it is important to remember that these rules are made to ensure that the community runs as smoothly as possible. Always remember to learn as much about a community as you can so that when you do find a new potential community to live in, the transition runs smoothly for both you and your pet(s).