Bringing your pet to a retirement village – if you don’t know, ask!
Have you got a furry or feathered friend? For many of us, our pets are part of our family. They provide constant companionship and love, and studies show pets can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and stress. Not only that, but having a pet is a great incentive to exercise!
If you’re currently searching for your perfect retirement village and find yourself agreeing with the above points, be sure to add ‘pet-friendly’ to your list of must-haves for your ideal retirement village.
So what exactly do you need to know about bringing your pet to a retirement village?
The first thing to be aware of is that every retirement village has its own pet policy. While many villages allow pets, it’s no guarantee that each and every one of them will. This means that you always need to check the individual pet policy of the retirement village you have in mind.
Guide, hearing or assistance dogs:
If you require a certified guide, hearing or assistance dog, a retirement village cannot prevent you from keeping your guide dog in the village. But just because you’re allowed to bring your guide dog to a retirement village doesn’t mean you don’t need to do more research! You need to understand what life will look like for you and your pet in your new home. Refer to our guidelines in this blog under the heading ‘the best life for your pet’ to help you guide your research.
If your pet is a simply a furry companion, then it’s another story. Legally, retirement village operators are required to disclose your rights and obligations in a contract or a Public Information Document. These documents should include whether or not pets are allowed. If they don’t, be sure to ask what the pet policy is before you sign anything.
It’s also important to make sure you understand all the requirements of the pet policy before signing any documents. On this point, what types of pets are allowed into the village? Some retirement villages allow familiar pets, such as dogs, cats, fish and birds. Others may permit different types of pets. Also consider if there are restrictions on the size of the pet, their temperament and their health.
The best life for your pet?
Determining whether your type of pet is allowed in the retirement village is just Step 1. Now consider, what type of life will your pet have in their new home?
You can use the following questions as a guideline to help you answer that question.
The following are all important considerations you need to be aware of before selecting your retirement village:
- Does the retirement village have procedures in place in the event of an emergency, or if you’re no longer able to look after your pet?
- Is there a nearby vet?
- Are there spaces to walk your pet, or places for them to socialize with other pets?
- Are there restrictions on which areas your pet can access in the village?
- Are you required to clean up after and wash your pet? If so, are there appropriate places to dispose of any rubbish and appropriate facilities for washing your pet?
- If you have more than one pet, is there a limit to how many pets you can bring to the retirement village?
Could you or your pet be evicted?
Legally, a retirement village is required to make sure there is peace and quiet for its residents. In Queensland, a village permitting pets received a complaint when a resident’s bird chirped all day and night. While the village supported the resident in keeping the pet, the Consumer Tribunal ruled the bird was too disruptive and the bird was required to leave the village.
It’s important to note that the bird had to leave because it was constantly disturbing other residents. This case highlights why it is so important to communicate with your retirement village about your particular pet! If you know your pet is particularly noisy, or won’t take to a new environment without fuss, raise this with the retirement village and ask about their policy. Always remember— if you don’t know or understand, ask!