How to Take a Dog to a Nursing Home

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Pets can be therapeutic to patients, especially the elderly or isolated. Dogs help with both physical and psychological healing. If you have a dog that you believe would warm the hearts of those in a nursing home, follow these steps to insure the safety of your dog and those at the nursing home.

  • Determine if your dog would be a good pet to visit a nursing home. The dog must be reliable, predictable, trained and loving.

  • Contact the manager of the nursing home. They may have certain steps that you need to complete before your visit. Some nursing homes require nothing more than the dog to be on a leash and to show proof of vaccinations. Others require you to go through training with your dog prior to the visit.

  • Make sure the dog is well groomed, including nails trimmed. Your dog should be healthy and up-to-date on all shots.

  • Keep your dog on a 4-foot leash. Don't use retractable leashes.

  • Contact a pet therapy program in your area to seek training and/or certification. The Activitytherapy website has a list of programs by state. It's good idea to go through the training process if you plan on visiting the nursing homes often.

  • Be a responsible owner and always have control of your dog at all times. Help encourage interaction between the dog and the patient.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your dog doesn't become a vacuum by eating food off the floor or being fed table scrapes. Watch for medication that may fall on the floor that could be hazardous to your pet.



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