Pet-Friendly Care Kit

The Pet Friendly Care Kit will help housing providers address the practical issues of including animals in their environment and to help ensure the health and well being of people (residents and staff) and the animals involved.

Due for publication in 2013

About the Kit

Produced by the SCAS in association with Jane Fossey, a clinical psychologist with over 20 years’ experience of working with older people and an interest in improving quality of life for people in care settings, The content will cover everything that a housing provider needs to know in order to develop or create a safe care environment in which older residents can benefit from contact with pets such as:

  • Tools to identify setting needs
  • Information on the type of animal programmes suitable for these environments eg personal pets, communal pets, visiting programmes etc.
  • Suitable species and care guidance
  • Template for developing a pet policy for range of care settings

Why include animals?

Recent studies into mental health and well-being in later life have identified pet ownership as an important factor in promoting good physical and psychological health in older people. However, only 40% of homes have recognised the benefits of interaction with pets in improving social interaction and reducing isolation.

Views and experiences

Research has found that:

  • 56% of residents support having animal residents
  • 73% support having visiting animals
  • 90% support an outside area to attract wildlife

Where responsible pet policies and practices exist, staff and residents report that:

  • Pets contribute to the happiness of residents and are an important part of daily life for both pet owners and non-pet owners
  • 99% of pet-related problems are minor and easily resolved
  • There is minimal extra work for staff


Improving the quality of care for older people and promoting choice, independence and engagement are at the heart of policy guidance:

  • Department of Health guidance: A new ambition for older age
  • Living well with dementia: A national dementia strategy
  • Care Quality Commission – essential standards

Interactions with pets are an important consideration in meeting these objectives and enabling older people to experience a meaningful lifestyle.