While some care homes do recognise the benefits of older people owning pets and as a result accept residents’ animals, pet-keeping rules are often drawn up arbitrarily and applied inconsistently. This can make the process of finding the right accommodation for you and your pet quite a challenge so we have listed below some suggestions of what to bear in mind when starting your search for pet-friendly accommodation.
Things to consider
- Plan ahead – give yourself plenty of time to research your housing and care options. Any accommodation must be right for you, as well as your pet.
- Look at our Publications and contacts page and speak to some of the organisations listed. Expert help is out there on all aspects of choosing care, if you know where to look
- Download our Pet friendly accommodation checklist. You may find it useful as a basis for discussion when talking to care home managers.
- Talk to several accommodation providers before making any decision
- Remember that moving into a care home doesn’t have to be permanent – if you just need a short break to recover from illness or injury, then temporary pet care could be the solution
- If possible, the final choice of accommodation should be made by the person needing care
- For your own peace of mind it is important to make arrangements for any pets you have that may outlive you. If there is no-one you can ask, you may wish to approach The Blue Cross for help. The charity has a well established scheme called Pets into Care which deals with this concern
Whatever type of pet policy a housing provider may have, their attitudes and expectations about pet ownership are likely to vary depending on the experiences of the manager and staff. Before visiting a care home it’s a good idea to think about your responses to any concerns a housing manager might raise about pet ownership, and also to jot down any questions you might have yourself. Below are a few suggestions of topics to discuss.
Questions to ask a housing manager
- Is there a written policy on pet ownership?
- What types of pets are allowed/excluded?
- Do other residents have pets?
- Are there any ‘communal’ pets?
- Do you permit other visiting pets, for example, Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs?
- If I am allowed to bring my pet with me and it subsequently dies, will I be able to replace it with another pet?
- If at any stage I need assistance with the day-to-day care of my pet, will staff be able to help me?
- If I’m not able to keep my pet with me, would it be allowed to visit, or could you offer me any assistance with re-homing it?
Issues a housing manager might raise
- What happens to your pet if you become unable to care for it?
- What if your pet becomes ill and requires expensive veterinary treatment?
- We already have a communal pet. Why do you need your own as well?
- Aren’t pets a source of disease, allergies and accidents? (If this is an issue, please refer to the ‘Care Professionals’ section of this website for information on health and safety concerns)