Pets Allowed in Nursing Homes - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Pets Allowed in Nursing Homes

Just really wanted to let folks know that you might be allowed to bring your pet dog to visit friends and relatives in nursing homes.
My mom-in-law is in one now, and having our dog Dynamo visit was always a highlight. One thing we could promise her, was that she would still be able to see Dynamo in the home.
Dynamo is not a trained certified therapy dog, but the nursing homes have a mandate to be a 'home' to the residents, so pet visitors are allowed. Also, walking a dog through the hallways also makes the day for a lot of other residents. They hold out their hands or call her over, some of them know her by name. There is a lady who has enormous difficulty speaking and rarely does, but she manages Dy-na-mo even it takes awhile.
Before all this happened, I thought only certified therapy dogs were allowed in, so I just really wanted to pass the info on, and let you know that even ordinary pet dogs can really make people in long term care happy, and many staff members like the dogs too.
Our local hospital allows family pets to visit in the rehabilitation ward too. So it's always worth asking.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:35 AM
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When my dad was in a "rehab center", i.e. nursing home, I brought both his dog and my dog there to visit him...almost daily. He loved it as did some of the other patients there.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:38 AM
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huh I wonder if this is true for the US, as far as I know dogs have to be certified therapy dogs to be allowed in nursing homes ( in the US, but I could be wrong). I know when my grandpa was in a nursing home I had to sneak my dogs in because they weren't allowed because they weren't certified therapy dogs.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DCluver33 View Post
huh I wonder if this is true for the US, as far as I know dogs have to be certified therapy dogs to be allowed in nursing homes ( in the US, but I could be wrong). I know when my grandpa was in a nursing home I had to sneak my dogs in because they weren't allowed because they weren't certified therapy dogs.
No, its not true. Neither of my dogs are certified. Both went to visit my dad nearly everyday. No one (staff at nursing home) said a word to me about bring the dogs. I always walked right in the front door and down the halls to my dads room.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:55 AM
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Nursing homes should allow pets, the only thing that I can think of that would restrict this is some people are allergic to pet dander-

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miikkas mom View Post
No, its not true. Neither of my dogs are certified. Both went to visit my dad nearly everyday. No one (staff at nursing home) said a word to me about bring the dogs. I always walked right in the front door and down the halls to my dads room.
huh then it must have just been the nursing home my grandpa was in then. I tried going through the front door and they said my dogs weren't allowed because they weren't certified .

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCluver33 View Post
huh I wonder if this is true for the US, as far as I know dogs have to be certified therapy dogs to be allowed in nursing homes ( in the US, but I could be wrong). I know when my grandpa was in a nursing home I had to sneak my dogs in because they weren't allowed because they weren't certified therapy dogs.
There are some nursing homes and hospices in the US that allow non-certified dogs. Just call ahead and ask.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe it depends on the nursing home. We asked staff before we did this. The hospital specified rehab ward only, and that we bring vaccination documents along.
The nursing home just required up-to-date vaccinations. I'm guessing it depends on the nursing home, and if the dog isn't calm, they might say something. 'pets allowed' is a question on the official long-term care checklist (for people looking for ltc for themselves or relatives), It's something to consider in advance.
Just saw this was moved to the working dogs forum. Which is a little too bad, as the point really is that your ordinary uncertified family pet may be able to spread some joy to your mum, grand-dad, etc...I just hope lots of people know that, because the old folks & younger disabled folks really like the dog visits, and many people going into long-term care would surely feel a bit better if they knew they would still be able to see their pet.
The nursing home has a resident cat named Diva, exotic finches and gold fish too, not to mention the nesting robins in the courtyard.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 05:45 PM
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I will probably always remember the day I took my border collie to hospice to visit my mom. (she was her favorite dog). All the office needed was a clean bill of health from my vet clinic, which they produced for me from their computer, and for her to be onleash. I'm glad I got to have that experience. It's something the home really didnt advertise, but for so many people animals are a big part of their life and family. I also agree, this doesn't pertain to Working animals, but for any fur covered family member. It never hurts to ask.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 02:41 AM
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It varies between nursing homes. Some will allow any pet dog. Others require that your dog has at least a CGC. Others only allow Therapy Dogs. So it's best to call them and ask what is allowed.

From the point-of-view of a Therapy Dog handler, it always concerns me when facilities allow pet dogs to visit, due to the obvious concerns for dog and people safety.

Not every dog does well around strangers, even if they're perfectly fine with the family bringing them or the person they are visiting. Some may not like being handled by other residents or may respond the wrong way to being grabbed, rubbed, etc. (I've noticed a lot of older folks like to pet/rub Shepherd ears in particular and not all dogs like that.)

I'd also be concerned if several family pets are visiting at the same time or a family pet is visiting at the same time as a Therapy Dog team. Therapy Dogs have to be good around other dogs but a lot of pets aren't. And TD handlers have to be super aware of their dogs at all times but a lot of pet owners aren't and don't pay attention.

Just some things to think about from a TD handler point of view and as someone who's had her dog lunged at / barked at by visiting (non-TD) pets.

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