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Active Adult Communities Welcome Animal Lovers

by Susan Quilty on 85 Comments

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There are great options for pet-friendly living in active adult communities. Ask about potential restrictions on animal weights as well as leash rules.

Many active adults are animal lovers, and research has shown that the love of a pet can enhance a person’s physical and emotional happiness. Yet those who are considering moving to an active adult community often worry about the potential restrictions on pets, particularly when it comes to dogs. While it is important to find out about a specific community’s rules before moving in, animal lovers will be relieved to know that there are many pet-friendly active adult communities throughout the country.

In most active adult communities there are few restrictions when it comes to owning a pet, particularly for those who live in single-family homes. Those who live in attached homes—such as townhomes, duplexes, or attached villas— are often allowed to own pets as well, though there may be additional restrictions. Regardless of home type, some communities may limit the number of pets in each home. For example, a community may limit each homeowner to a maximum of two dogs or two cats.

Apartment-style condominiums (whether garden or high-rise) are more likely to have pet restrictions. Some buildings limit dogs to those that weigh under 25-pounds, and others may not allow dogs or cats at all. Apartment buildings frequently limit the number of pets as well, and may have additional rules in place to deal with problems, such as aggressive dogs or those that bark excessively.

Even pet-friendly active adult communities will often have some rules regarding pets, particularly when it comes to bringing dogs out into the community. It is common for communities to have rules that say dogs must be on a leash and only turned loose in a fenced-in yard or in a community dog park. This is both for the safety of other residents and for the safety of your pet. Active adult communities also commonly have rules about cleaning up after your dog when taking it out for walks. Failure to follow these rules could result in fines or other disciplinary actions.

Many pet-friendly active adult communities feature their own dog parks. These great fenced-in areas allow dogs to run off the leash, and their owners to mingle with other animal lovers. Dog parks come in many varieties, and the better ones usually offer separate areas for small-, medium- and large-sized dogs. A community dog park will have its own rules and regulations to keep things running smoothly, and failure to follow the rules could result in being banned from the park.

Just a few of the active adult communities that offer their own dog parks include: SaddleBrooke in Arizona; Del Webb Naples in Florida; Sun City Shadow Hills in California; Village at Deaton Creek in Georgia; and Ardiente in Nevada.

When researching communities, remember that the rules are in place to help residents get along. Don’t let stories of overly restrictive communities keep you from considering an active adult community, but do research a particular community’s rules before moving in. There are many pet-friendly active adult communities that will be happy to welcome both you and your four-legged friends.

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  1. Are there any active adult communities that allow horses? I have 2 horses and I am looking for a place where I can retire with them.

    1. Hi Darla–I have been looking for exactly the same kind of active adult community that allows horses. I’m not able to find any that offer this arrangement.

      1. I’m not sure if the place m. ascherman referred to in Laguna Hills CA is a place you might consider. Since no one has given any other suggestions, I thought I’d give you a suggestion. You might consider finding an AAC in a horse-friendly town and board your horses at a stable next to the AAC (if it doesn’t have a stable on the premises). The reason to pick a horse friendly town rather than just an AAC that has a stable is because it’s important to find the services nearby to sustain the horse properly, like feed store, sources of hay, vet, farriers, tack, equine dentist, etc. For instance, in our town of Tryon NC (the site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games), there are several AAC’s which don’t have equine facilities, but are near many horse farms that you could board your horse. And as you age, you may not want to care for your horse yourself but you may want to enjoy “Saturday Night Lights” at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Hope this helps.

  2. Sun City Hilton Head offers a dog park and is a pet friendly community. The dog park has specific hours for small and larger dogs. We also offer “For the Love of Dogs” club. There are also many choices for vets and boarding in the surrounding community.

  3. We recently moved into a condo in Laguna Woods and we’re looking for a dog club. We have a toy ShiTzu and would like to meet other dog owners who may have information on a good groomer in the area. When and where does the dog club meet?

    1. I’m looking for backyard fencing too !!! So far I found Village walk at Lake Nona in orlando florida…..It has Pet grooming a Salon, Gas station, & Post office. I’m told that in some of the 55+ communities you can have an invisable electric fence IF YOU GET THE BOARDS PERMISSION……I Don’t like “IF’S” and I’m not electricuting my 2 little Dogs………Floral Lakes Delray Beach Fl. is also Pet Friendly….But I can’t remember what I read about them…..I’ll have to lokk them up again a wright better notes……uuuggghhhh….This is so much like homework…..

      1. I’ve been told that you can put in a fence at Top of the World Ocala as long as the property doesn’t back on a golf course. Of course then you are responsible for the fenced yard. Otherwise, yard work is included in the condo fees.

  4. Sun City Arizona allows fences up to 6 ft tall around the side and back yard of the property (as long as it is not on a golf course or one of the lakes).

    1. Several questions; I have 3 dogs one of which is 55lbs. would all three be welcomed at suncity AZ.? I would need to have a fenced in backyard; any problem with that? I would like to have a nice area to walk my dogs — I am a responsible pet owner and clean up after my dogs. Is it true that Sun City residents do not pay city taxes? Is there HOA in Sun City AZ.?

      1. Quick answers Dorothy:
        Yes, three dogs are fine.
        Fences are around any number of Sun City homes and if there isn’t one, you can build one up to six feet in height on most properties.
        Sun City is not a city so there are no “city” taxes and we have no schools so there aren’t local school taxes.
        There is an HOA (SCHOA) and membership is voluntary at $20 per year (though all residents have to follow the CC&R’s whether a member or not).

        The exception to most of these answers is in condo’s, quads and garden court apts which is about a third of the 27,000 homes in Sun City. Single family homes fall into the answers above.

    1. Yes, The Villages, in Florida allows cats and dogs, but they have a limit. If the cats are indoors, I have also heard they don’t check on you.

    2. I also am looking for a 55 plus community in the boynton beach,florida area. I have only one indoor cat that never goes outside. the communities that i like that have alot of activities and a theatre, don’t allow pets. if anyone want to communicate regarding this topic my e-mail is jeweljlg43@aol.com

  5. Please let’s continue the discussion on 55+ communities that permit fences. I have 3 small dogs, am a dog trainer, and want to be in a dog-friendly community. I also want to be near excellent vets and grooming services.

  6. I have been searching in Central Florida for pet friendly 55+ communities. There are a number of them that I have found that are pet friendly, some restrict to 2 dogs, others that I have will allow at least 4. I have 3 Standard Poodles and a small rescue dog, so 4 is the top number that I have inquired about.
    Although I have found pet friendly communities, I have yet to find one that allows a fence. My dogs like to run in the yard a few times a day to be playful kinda like any other kid.
    I can understand these communities wanting a nice enclosure, but to just say no fence will alienate a lot of pet owners, especially ones with larger breeds. Our furry friends need more than just a walk with their pals on a leash.
    I am still searching and will post an update if and when I find truly pet friendly 55+ communities.

    1. Did the gentleman, Jim M dated 12/15/13 –
      find a 55+ community that has less dog restrictions and allow fences? My spouse and I are looking for a community that is dog friendly. We plan on getting another standard poodle in the near future, maybe (2). Unfortunately we lost ours a year ago.

    2. hi Jim we have 3 small dogs, wanting to get a place ina over 55 around Central Florida to the west coast of Florida, so far not much luck. Would appreciate if you could supply me with the names of a few parks in the area i have mentioned.. Thank you very much Jim would really appreciate your help.

  7. Hey Jim: We two standard poodles and our 6 ft block wall around the back of the house gives them room to roam. Two dog doors (one on either side of the house) give them access day and night and allow them to slip in and out without us having to do it for them.

    Four dogs isn’t a problem in Sun City AZ, but you will not find an age restricted community where excessive barking will be welcome or tolerated. And unfortunately no matter where you go, you’ll find the usual letters to the editor by home owners moaning about dogs and the related issues that come with them. All too often life is so good in age restricted living the grumpy Gus’s look for anything to complain about. Give’s their lives meaning I guess.

  8. I am looking for a friendly, dogs ok, active adult community in florida. Very down to earth, active, energetic seniors. I want to rent for the winter months. Thanks for all replies!

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  10. Please let me know what you find out about fenced yards and larger dogs. I have 5 english Labrador retrievers. These are smaller about 18″ to the top of the8r backs. We were breeders and I can’t just let them go to someone.

  11. This is a great discussion. I wonder when someone who designs 55+ communities will includes fenced in yards. I think a lot of boomers are pet lovers and would flock to a community that had amenities that were relevant to our lifestyles and needs. Does anyone really care about shuffle board and areas that are costly to maintain rather than offering living space similar to how we currently like to live with the services and conveniences like lawn, yard, community area care that no longer want or are able to care for? I think this design and type of community would be wildly successful. Looking forward to learning about any that exist now.

    1. I love your post, Kelly.We would love to live in a community that allows fences for our 2 rescue dogs.I know some rules are necessary, but having to give up our animals would not be an option for me.For now, it seems like private homes are the only way to be able to keep them. Thank you for your excellent post.

  12. At the villages in Fl now. Would not allow my 10 yr. old lazy fat cat. Want to rent hereor next yr. for 4 months dec.-march but only if I can bring the cat. Tell me where?

  13. Anyone know of pet friendly over 55 condo communities in Southern New Hampshire ? I have an Old English Sheep Dog and a Golden Doodle. All the places,except one apartment condo, we’ve found so far have wt restrictions on 25-35 lbs. We would prefer a townhouse.

  14. I am with Kelly on this. People love their pets and want and need them especially as we age. I am not sure what a 50 lb. dog would do that a 25 lbs. dog couldn’t. It is about being a responsible owner no matter the dog size. As far as a community not accepting an indoor cat, I guess they have the right to make the policies, but who would want to live there? There is something not to be trusted about folks that do not have pets. Just saying…….

  15. I worked for a builder before the bust and I always told him that he should look into building a pet friendly over 55 community as it would be wildly successful. Not something that just allowed pets, but one that allowed fences. Retirees that have dogs are probably now living in a house with a fenced yard. Even if they moved to a dog friendly over 55, very few allow fences. And dogs that have lived all their lives being able to go out in their yard and not on a leash would probably not be happy with being leashed all the time or having to go for a walk just to go to the bathroom. Having a dog park does compensate a bit for them being able to run and stretch their legs, but having a fenced yard is what they, AND their owners need to be happy in their new community.
    To address the problem with old curmudeons complaining about dogs I told him the community should be split in 2, with one side of the main road being people who do not have pets and would not have fences and the other being us “normal” folks! (GRIN) who need a fenced yard and everyone having a pet. A dog park and even maybe a small training area could be incorporated into the plan. I bet the pet friendly side would sell out very fast! Retirees with pets are NOT going to give them up without a fight. The weight of the dog or even the number of them do not dictate how well behaved and how well taken care of they are. Those things are human determined.
    Unfortunately the builder went out of business in the crash, but there has to be other forward thinking builders out there that could make a whole lot of money and make a whole lot of us dog loving people happy too.

  16. On Top of the World and Del Webb Stone Creek both in Ocala allow fences on some lots. In Stone Creek must be 4′ black aluminum and in OTOW must be white. We were looking to move somewhere else in Florida, but we are finding that it is true that many 55+ communities do not allow fences. We may stay where we are.

  17. I don’t get these ‘pet friendly’ communities! They will allow dogs 25# and under that NEVER STOP BARKING and are annoying and disruptive but they won’t allow 60-75# retired racing greyhounds that love everyone they meet, are very gentle, sleep 18-20 hours a day, do not attack people’s ankles and DON’T BARK!!!!
    What is wrong with this picture and what is the positive side of owning a little dog other than the stool droppings are smaller.
    There are many other larger breeds that are also just a laid back and sweet as the greyhounds. This is a very prejudicial rule!

  18. We chose On Top Of The World in Ocala Fl b/c of their accommodation of dogs. It has a very nice dog park, separating small and large dogs. We looked for three years on both coasts for a community which would allow 2 dogs and have all of the amenities we wanted. OTOW delivers it all: the best amenities ever, beautiful and well maintained facilities, classes, etc. We love living there. Fences of a certain height are allowed if you’re not on one of the golf courses. They do tend to push their new homes, but there are reasonable resales, too.

  19. I would like to find a 55 plus community that allows pets in the yard untied . The areas we prefer are Kentucky, Mo, and Tenn. . We would like to move out of IL, because of the taxes and the unfriendly pet people that walk by our house. We need something around 120,000 to 130,00, Most things I see are higher than 200,000 . We just want a quiet neighborhood but close to things to do. We will both be retired when we move.

  20. Thanks for reading this and any help given would be appreciated. We are looking to move to Florida in neat future. Our children have all been furry in nature and currently we -3- rescues. We are having a difficult time finding any reasonable place that will allow our family to live with us. Any community of ’55’ would be nice, any retirement mobile home park would be o.k. and in fact any situation that would allow us to have our -3- small dogs would be ideal. If you read this and any information that would help us it would be greatly appreciated.

  21. I agree with previous comments. A 55plus community that allows fences and is promoted as very dog friendly would sell out immediately. We are not interested in golf and shuffleboard…we would love nature trails and in an ideal situation, a dog friendly beach or lake.

    1. I agree with Adrian. My wife and I are ready to give-up these Michigan winters, but we have no intention of giving-up our 30# Sheltie. Some level of dog-friendly waterfront would be our best case scenario. Anyone know of such a place?? At the end of the day, our dog is cleaner, quieter and better-behaved than 99.9% of the kids running around these beach towns. Surely there must be a place for folks like us??

      1. Please be careful allowing dogs to swim in lakes and other wet areas in Florida, alligators eat dogs.

  22. Why are not pet restrictions or at least whether pets are even allowed noted on the 55places.com listings? No where could I find a box to check for a pet. Frustrating.

    1. Yes, noticing that about 55places.com never mentioning anything about dog limits. Am looking in San Diego county and found out they mostly only allow one dog (I have two). Who ARE these people making up the rules?!
      I like someone’s idea about dividing the homes between dogs/no dogs (like smoking and non-smoking)!

  23. We have just begun our search for a community that will allow our 4 dogs. 3 seniors 1 young. Not having much luck. We did find The Wellington, Sprg Hill, Fl, will accept multiplies as well as Heritage Pines in Hudson, Fl. Hope this helps

  24. Looking for a 55 and over community in NJ or eastern PA that will allow you to put up a fence for dogs… Are there any out there?

  25. Hi, I have 8 small birds, 1 cat. All my critters stay indoors and trouble no one. However, I cannot find a 55+ community that will allow them – Central to Southern FL, East coast. Is there anywhere out there i can go? Please help! thanks.

    1. i have read that in califoria the sierra dawn 55 plus community does allow fencing in the yard , so are there any others idk, but if you do let us know as i will not bow to any old grump either

  26. My husband and I have worked with criminals in the past and were advised by our supervisors to have large, highly trainable dogs. Although we are retired, we would like a 55 plus house that allows fencing for our two gentle (albeit scary looking to some) Doberman and large mixed breed dog. They are NEVER out of our home except to go potty in our yard or infrequently to go to the vets. Our kids live in Washington and California. We would like a place with a lot of activities and friendly retirees. Thank you.

    1. I, too, am a Doberman owner. Time for people to drop the ignorant attitude regarding these noble friends. Have had 5 – current baby is 8 months, along with a rescued Collie. Looking in SE PA.

  27. I’m looking for a pet friendly active retirement community. Like “the Villages” in Florida…only in California. Anyone know of any? I’m not having any luck at all.

  28. Looking for a detached one family house, 2 – 3 bedrooms, large rooms, & garage & pet friendly, preferably with fence in a very ACTIVE adult community, close to educational facilities and shopping, & transportation.

  29. I have three rescues and still like to foster small dogs that need to be rehabbed. . . So I would like to live in a 55+ community where I can take my dogs. Looking to be near Orlando in a very active community.

  30. Del Webb Orlando is a community that is about eight years old. It is already starting to show holes in their “wall”. Many people are moving out under two years established residency and 99% are not making any monies on their sold properties. New sales are down tremendously and there is a huge tug of war with the developer. I think if you buy new or a resale hold onto for dear life!

  31. Looking for an active 55+ adult community that allows more than one pet near Manalapan, NJ. I have one little Chihuahua who doesn’t bark at all and 4 cats – 2 are elderly and we can’t part with any of them. Please respond if anyone knows of a place – we need to move, but our babies must come with us.

  32. I have 2 cats, who like to go outside, and an 80 pound Bernese Mountain Dog, about the size of a golden retriever. Does anyone know what the rules are at the Indio Del Webb community? Fences allowed? Dog park? Pet number and weight restrictions? Of course, common sense rules would be in order, poop pickup, leashes, etc.

  33. I have seen fences in some backyards at Del Webb Huntley in Illinois. If you can stomach the high taxes in IL, it might be an alternative. I think you need to get permission to do it.

  34. i am also looking for a “community” in florida that allows dogs and physical fencing as well as larger lots. since it will be a seasonal home, i’d rather not have a private, stand alone home….i’d feel safer leaving it unattended if it was in a community. most communities have such tiny lots with everyone squeezed in side by side. i wish someone would think outside the box, charge a bit more if they need to, and give us dog lovers what we need in our retirement.

  35. I am looking for a pet friendly community in Florida that requires no lawn mowing. I want to find a small place for me & my 2 dogs,& 2 cats. Any advice?

  36. I think we need to all get-together and find a builder that can build us and our furry kids a development to include all the wonderful amenities we need.

  37. I am so distraught to hear there are hardly any places for fenced yards for the dogs and also have cats. I am single, active and over 55 looking to be in a 55 plus community and was excited to maybe move somewhere like that. My dogs would not want to be walked all the time, but go out into their yard and run and play. If anyone finds a good one, please respond. California is way too far.

    1. Hi Jen,

      One of our expert partner agents will be getting in touch with you shortly.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  38. We are wanting to relocate to 55+ in FL either Sun City Center or The Villages type of area. We have 4 indoor cats that come from a clean home. All but one are rescues, plus one old one, so can’t even imagine giving them up. They depend on us and are afraid of other humans. I don’t understand it being an issue if you are buying a house in one of these areas, and they are indoors.

  39. Looking for a 55+ community that will allow a large (100bls) well mannered, well trained, He has yet to find any living breathing creature he didn’t like. I am looking in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Utah. Must get away from California, politicians are taxing me to death.

    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for reaching out! One of our expert partner agents will be getting in touch with you shortly.

      Patrick – 55places.com

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      You can find information on Ocala, FL active adult communities here. We will also have one of our expert partner agents reach out to help with your search.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  40. We recently retired and have an 8lb Maltese dog and have been trying to locate an affordable double wide mobile home in Venice Florida in a 55 plus mobile park community. We don’t need a water front property. We love Venice Isles Estates which has a pet section, but rarely does a unit come up that is the size we want ( 1,000 sq feet or more ) and not in need of extensive renovation. It’s been a year and a half we have been looking and so frustrating to deal with finding a unit in the small pet section. Pet lovers are the nicest people, for it’s been found that pets benefits people’s emotional well being and outlook on life. Are there any Christian faith-based ( have a church on the premise ) 55 plus mobile park communities on the coast of Florida that welcome small dogs?? Love the beach as much as we love our fur baby!

    1. Hi Jody,

      Thanks for reaching out! One of our expert partner agents will be getting in touch to help guide you in your search.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  41. Any suggestions for pet friendly retirement communities near Iowa City/Cedar Rapids where one can fence the backyard? We are in our 70’s and have two young Boston Terriers (20 and 26 lbs.)who need to run and two indoor cats. Must downsize in 2018 to about 1700 sq.ft. Thanks.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for reaching out! We’ll put you in contact with one of our regional partner agents. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have and help you find the perfect home.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  42. I am looking for a pet friendly 55+ community I have a Saint Bernard and a Border Collie Mix rescue. It’s very important to have a fenced yard.

    1. Hi there,

      We’ll have one of our expert partner agents reach out shortly to help you find the perfect community for you and your furry friends.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  43. Hi,
    We looking for a pet friendly for cats, some people out here have other than dogs, these pets need to be consider. Need a fence in area also, must have screen in back porch large or sun room. I promise my cat forever homes. Another we in need of 4 bedrooms because we have in law who is 88 yr. old.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for reaching out! One of our expert partner agents will be reaching out shortly to help with your search.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  44. Hi All.

    We are investigating retirement in the Bradenton or Tampa area. Have an 8 yr old 70 lb standard poodle. Owning a large dog has been our biggest hurdle. Have heard of On Top of the World in Ocala but it appears owners do not have to reside in the residence but can rent to people of any age. Can anyone confirm that? Or know of any communities that will accept large dogs in our desired areas? Coming down for 5 weeks in mid-April and would at least like to visit any possibilities while in the area. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Terri,

      A customer service representative will be in touch with you shortly in order to further assist you in your search for a new home!

      Thank you,
      Kelly – 55places.com

  45. It seems that everyone has their own opinions when it comes to where to move.

    We are looking for a 55+ mobile home park, as my spouse is ready to retire next year. We have 3 dogs, 2 Bostons and 1 Lab-mix. We’ve been looking in the Tampa Bay area, and it seems that hardly any meet what we need. I, myself, am not ready for retirement (under 40 spouse is 55+), and we need an area where I can be, and our 3 dogs can be, and a FENCED property. If its the landscaping/maintenance issue, I am still able to maintain a yard. Also would like to find a community that I can open a salon in the part of the house (I am familiar with the regulations when it comes to businesses within a home). If anyone knows of any, please let us know. Thanks.

    1. Hi J&M!
      A customer service representative will be in touch with you shortly in order to further assist you in your search!

      Thank you,
      Kerri – 55places.com

  46. I have (3)13 year old cats and one 8 year old cat. Just like the rest of you I can’t find a community in FL or NC that allows my pets. They are indoor cats.
    In the Condos around S FL they only allow 3 max but that doesn’t work for my family!

    I may be forced to buy a home but I wanted to live in a community that offered a theatre and social events. I’m single and retired.

    1. Hello Connie,

      A customer service representative will be in touch with you shortly in order to further assist you!

      Thank you,
      Kerri– 55places.com

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