If you thought Australia was pet friendly, you thought wrong

It turns out Australia is ‘behind the times’ when it comes to pet ownership. That’s the message by celebrity vet

It turns out Australia is ‘behind the times’ when it comes to pet ownership.

That’s the message by celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown who recently penned an open letter calling for you and your local community, councils and planning officials to be more accommodating when it comes to pets.

“Right now I feel like we’re at a crossroads…,” Dr Chris writes. “While out pets might love us, our cities’ attitudes to pets is often far from caring.”

Dr Chris says most of our cities and towns are now so non-inclusive of pets that “a simple walk is more akin to a stroll through a minefield of potential fines, infringements and criticism”.

He also says there are some suburbs in Australia that have banned cat ownership entirely.

“For the first time in Australia’s history, pet populations are falling significantly. In just 12 months, cat populations have declined by 200,000 and dog numbers have dropped by 100,000,” Dr Chris writes.

Dr Chris feels the issue has been building for some time, and he knows this because he talks to pet owners in everyday life and they tell him how difficult it is to own a pet and give it the life it deserves.

“We are a little bit dated, a little bit behind in our attitude towards pets and how inclusive we are of pets in everyday life,” Dr Chris says. “Looking at North America and Europe, which are very much developed [societies], pets are a much bigger part of people’s lives and are allowed to be a bigger part of people’s lives.”

He says he is amazed pets aren’t allowed on public transport, that there are rental property rules preventing them and that there is a lack of pet-friendly places available in cities and towns.

What do you think — is Australia inclusive of pets? Do you have a pet? How has it affected your life?


  1. Chronic insomnia zombified me for years, laying there awake worrying about this, worrying about that… until I rescued a kitten from a shelter — someone deserving to be lovee who loves me back unconditionally. I keep her nails clipped (see online for instructions), so that even when she stomps all over me in bed with her great big clod-hopping paws while I’m settling down to sleep, it’s more like a gentle massage than anything. I go out like a light now, and haven’t slept so well in years!

  2. Trish  

    Having been to Europe and knowing people in America I feel as if we live in a country filled with people who want to tell us how to live. In Holland I went to the Keukenhoff Gardens where people walked well behaved dogs (on lead of course). One lady had 5 big dogs on the train and restaurants encouraged dogs with water bowls and at times pet menus. These dogs lived in apartments as well as houses as they do in America. Of course there have to be some rules out of courtesy (and that should not include size restriction) but changing our attitudes and restrictions might help some of those poor innocents waiting for homes in pounds and rescues or put down every day. Good on Doctor Chris for getting behind this. I for one would not find life worth living without my best friends whether human or animal. ❤️🐶🐱

  3. Gerda  

    I totally agree. I have a dog and luckily live close to a park where the dog is allowed off the lead. But try taking your dog to another area of Melbourne and it’s a different matter altogether. It is so hard to find off-lead areas for dogs. I understand that cats need to be indoors at night to protect our wildlife, but please… don’t ban cats altogether. It’s a fact that pet ownership is good for people. Pet ownership helps people stay healthy longer. Dogs need to be walked so people have to go out in all weather to walk their dog. That’s good for human and dog. Pets also provide companionship to a lot of people who may otherwise be very, very lonely.
    People, open your eyes and your heart and stop complaining about pets. Without pets this world would be a colder, unfriendlier place to live.

  4. My 2 rescue cats are the most important beings in my life. I wouldn’t move anywhere they weren’t allowed to live. Common knowledge how good they are for our all around health but of course the almighty dollar is all that matters to so many people. We domesticated them so it ought to be our responsibility to take care of them. Why should their lives be trivialized and deemed by some to be of no significance or value. Like any being who needs help and a life our non human beings also ought to be included and taken care of and our real estate and laws ought to such that provides them with an opportunity of inclusiveness and a quality of life.

  5. Fran  

    All very well unless you have to listen to barking dogs all night long and unable to do anything.then to have cats pee all over your outdoor furniture!
    Great idea to have suburbs where dogs and cats are banned!

  6. Gail  

    After returning from a holiday in Canada Australia is way behind in dog friendly areas. Almost everywhere we travelled pets were allowed and most Cafes had water bowls . Some shops I went into even had dog biscuits in a container next to the cash register. Animals are very therapeutic and are wonderful loveable companions. If you haven’t owned a cat or dog then do bother making comments on this page. Canada have now just introduced taking your dog on the plane providing they are small enough to fit in a crate under the seat in front of you like a bag and even came across a pet room at the airport for your pet to relieve itself. Europe is the same people shop with their pets almost everywhere. If any shops in Canada don’t want your pet in the shop then they simply put a sign in the window. Australia needs to get with the times and introduce specific enclosed dog parks as well and become more pet friendly.

  7. Maggi  

    I would love to have another animal (could handle 2 small ones) especially one rescued but vets and rescue centres have put that out of my reach as a pensioner. So before Dr Chris (whose show I love by the way) and others put out a story like this they should do a little more research.

    • Yvonne Janiszewski  

      Yes Maggie, I agree with u. As much as I love Chris Brown n Dr Harry immensely, owning a pet today is soooo expensive, Vet bills. I too am a pensioner had dogs all my life, but now in my sixties, can’t afford to have one because if it got sick I could not afford to help it, I would starve first before letting it suffer. Maybe Chris should talk about how to lower vet bills for pensioners so we could give a loving animal a home. I would love another dog but have to be realistic. The rest of the stuff he says is also very true, especially about rental properties. Dr Chris, don’t stop the campaign but also help with vet costs.

  8. Charley  

    Travelled to America, considering living there purely based on my dogs lives! Not only does nearly every rental building in New York allow dogs, dogs are aloud everywhere on transport, even places they aren’t aloud I see people saying “shh if they ask the dog is for my disability” dogs everywhere ! (and NY is probably the city that lets dogs do the least of things) We finally got approved for dogs to be aloud into Bunnings (Queensland) and two weeks later there was a article saying dog has bitten kid. And all I saw was comments like: “knew it was going to happen dogs are a time bomb waiting to happen”?!
    Like what the hell Australia. It takes me months and months to find a rental home where I can have two SMALL dogs. And I’m scared to even take my dog public places on weekends cause the council are always whiling to hand out massive fines.. My dogs do less harm then small children do and I think it’s time we really get animals out of the back yard!!!! We need more dogs and less humans and more humans who know how to train animals! I would love to see some sort of water park for doggies my dogs love water it would be the cutest thing!!!

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