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Pets In Retirement Villages: What You Need To Know

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Most New Zealand retirement villages are pet-friendly, but you must ensure your pet meets specific guidelines before moving in.

The bond between you and your pet is a strong and loving one, and you want that connection to continue when you move into a retirement village. Fortunately, most New Zealand's retirement villages are pet-friendly and provided you meet certain conditions, your pet can live with you.

If you want to bring your pet into a retirement village, you'll appreciate there's a little more to it than just turning up and moving in. Villages have rules and expectations around keeping pets, and you'll need to satisfy these conditions. Some pet policies are more flexible than others, and this has to do with several factors such as the location of the village and the type of home you occupy e.g. a villa versus an apartment. Meanwhile, retirement villages in rural settings may be more accommodating of larger animals or certain types of pets.

Other conditions might include obedience training for your pet before it can live with you, or a probationary period where your pet moves in on a trial basis to monitor the potential impact on immediate neighbours and other residents. Issues like these are generally discussed with village managers on a case-by-case basis. At this point, they’ll probably ask you to submit a plan that guarantees your pet's ongoing care e.g. nominating someone to look after your pet if you can't, or the name and contact details of your usual veterinary clinic.

While researching retirement villages, it's a good idea to have a list of questions to ask the sales manager regarding their pet policy. Their answers will provide valuable information and help you settle on a retirement village that best suits your needs (and those of your pet.)

Here are some commonly asked questions:

  • Can I replace my current pet if it passes away?
  • Are there restrictions on the type of pet I can bring with me?
  • Will my cat be allowed to go outside?
  • Is there a designated area within the village for me to exercise my dog?
  • What other facilities are there for my pet?
  • Do you require proof of my pet's state of health?

No one disputes the joys of owning a pet in a retirement village. They provide ongoing companionship and make the village feel like even more of a community. But there is a serious side to it. So, when researching pet-friendly retirement villages, it is always best to check how far that friendship extends. The sales manager will happily provide you with all the necessary information, including the rules specific to their village. With this knowledge, your new home will be as good for your pet as it will be for you.

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