National animal welfare charity Companion Animal Network Australia’s Pets in Aged Care Survey shows an urgent need to support pet ownership for older Australians who choose to live independently. 

The Australian Government is committed to delivering in-home aged care reforms that will serve the needs of all older people, their families, and carers, now and into the future.

There is a painful absence of government support for older pet owners in in-home care, resulting in not only putting people’s lives in danger but also their much-loved animals being surrendered to shelters across the country.

A host of studies demonstrate how pets offer a myriad of physical and mental health benefits for people, such as reducing stress, providing companionship, encouraging social interactions and more. This is true particularly for older adults who often face loneliness and isolation and rely on their companion animals to thrive whether they are living at home.

In 2023, national animal welfare charity Companion Animal Network Australia completed a Survey on the Status of Pets in Aged Care facilities and at home, and found worrying results.

The results tell us that 86% of older adults with pets experience improved mental and physical health.

When it comes to older adults living at home, the survey reveals 61% of older adults live alone, and 74% of older adults with pets say their animals provide companionship and reduce loneliness.

Whilst 40% of older adults who receive a Home Care Package (HCP) have pets, only 9% of these pet owners receive pet care support, such as walking their dog (64% need help) and taking their pet to the vet (62% need help).

CANA’s Pets in Aged Care Survey shows an urgent need to support pet ownership for older Australians who choose to live independently.

Ms Ennis says, “The health and well-being benefits of pet ownership are measurable and indisputable. The CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Programme) and HCP can be extended to determine and secure the necessary assistance for a person to live independently with their pet by ensuring services are offered to support pet health and well-being.

“Increasing the number of pet-friendly in-home aged care support will also help to prevent animals from being euthanised or surrendered to shelters and maximise the physical and emotional health of animal loving older people.”

The financial implementation of adding these resources to the packages is minor and would be in many cases, mean simply changing the wording of the delivery of existing items.

Companion Animal Network Australia is calling on Hon Mark Butler MP Minister for Health and Aged Care and Hon Anika Wells MP Minister for Aged Care to help our ageing population maintain a high quality of life and that includes finding ways to help older adults retain their pets.

For more information about supporting pets in aged care, please visit

For more about Companion Animal Network Australia, visit or contact