Everything you need to know about pet friendly retirement villages

Each retirement village has its own set of rules to ensure that all residents, regardless of if they have a pet or not, can feel comfortable and relaxed. Source: Getty Images.

Whether they’re big and furry, small and scaly, or covered in feathers, pets are an important part of our everyday lives and provide a number of benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing.

In fact, recent research reveals that almost two thirds of Australian households currently own a pet and over 60 per cent of dog and cat owners regard their pet as a family member. So it is no surprise that most people would like to take their furry companions with them when the time comes to transition into retirement living.

Over the past few years, retirement village operators have started to acknowledge the benefits of pet ownership, which has resulted in a shift away from the strict ‘no pets’ policies to a more flexible approach. But each retirement village has its own set of rules to ensure that all residents, regardless of if they have a pet or not, can feel comfortable and relaxed.

What is a pet policy?

Pet friendly retirement villages will have a document called a ‘pet policy’, sometimes also referred to as ‘pet guidelines’, which you will be required to acknowledge and sign before you move in.

Pet policies are not mentioned in the Retirement Village Act and so it is up to each individual operator to create a fair set of guidelines to protect the rights of pet owners and non-owners alike.

In addition to having a thorough understanding of the retirement village’s pet policy, there are several other important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a retirement village for you and your pet. Some of which include:

What types of pets are allowed, and are there any restrictions?

Nowadays, most retirement villages will allow you to bring a small pet. In some instances, they may even allow you to have two small dogs or cats, or a dog and a cat.

There may also be rules around other animals, such as birds and reptiles, so it’s best to ask about all the types of living creatures that are permitted.

It’s also important to take note of any requirements you must adhere to, for example, must the pet always remain indoors? Or does it need to have completed obedience training?

Size and layout of accommodations

It’s important to consider the size and layout of the accommodations offered in the retirement village. If you have a larger pet or multiple pets, you’ll want to ensure that there is enough space for them to move comfortably within the living area. Look for apartments or houses with spacious rooms and sufficient outdoor areas for your pet to enjoy.

Outdoor amenities 

Check if the retirement village offers designated outdoor areas for pets. Look for features such as fenced-in dog parks, walking trails, or pet-friendly gardens where your furry friend can exercise and socialise. Having these amenities on-site can make it more convenient for you to spend quality time with your pet outdoors.

Pet services and facilities

Consider the availability of pet-related services and facilities within the retirement village. This may include a pet grooming salon, a veterinary clinic, or even a pet daycare facility. Having these services conveniently located on the premises can save you time and effort when it comes to taking care of your pet’s needs.

Accessibility and safety

Ensure that the retirement village is designed with pet-friendly features in mind. Look for accessibility features such as ramps or elevators that make it easy for your pet to move around, especially if they have mobility issues. Additionally, check if the community has secure fencing or pet-friendly security measures in place to prevent pets from wandering off and ensure their safety.

Pet Community and socialising opportunities

Find out if the retirement village promotes a pet-friendly community atmosphere. Are there organised events or activities that cater to pet owners? Socialisation is important for both pets and their owners, so having opportunities to meet and interact with other pet owners can enhance the overall experience of living in a pet-friendly retirement village.

Remember, it’s crucial to visit and thoroughly research different retirement villages to evaluate how well they accommodate your pet’s needs and your lifestyle. By considering these additional factors, you can find a pet-friendly retirement village that offers a welcoming environment for both you and your furry companion.

Download your free copy of ‘Considering a Retirement Village: The Ultimate Checklist’ for everything you need to know before you start your journey into retirement living.

This article was originally published on June 22, 2022, and was updated on June 28, 2023.



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