pet insurance

Insurance

24 Nov 2020

Blanket rule on pet bans overturned


In October 2020 a decision by the NSW Court of Appeal has resulted in a statewide precedent that ‘no pets’ by-laws will likely be deemed oppressive and have no force or effect. As a result, strata schemes may be reviewing their by-laws and considering the conditions and criteria under which they will allow pets.

If you live in an apartment and have been thinking about getting a pet, now might be the time to consider what type of pet might be suitable for apartment-life.

Things to consider

  • First, check the by-laws of your building to see what they say about keeping a pet. If pets are allowed, there may be restrictions on the number of pets you can keep, or the size of the animal.
  • Consider the requirements for an apartment pet - are they calm when alone, able to cope with stairs? Do they have a low to moderate daily exercise requirement?
  • Be a good neighbour - respect that not everyone may be a pet lover. If they see that your pet is well controlled and you are considerate of your fellow apartment dwellers, they will be more likely to tolerate you and your pet.
  • Exercise/entertainment needs of your pet and check for any hazards in or around your home. See what Dr Claire has to say on this below. 
  • If you are renting, your landlord can include a clause restricting pets in the residential tenancy agreement, and there is no specific ban on them doing so. If they allow you to keep a pet, there may be additional terms in your lease that require you to have the premises professionally cleaned or fumigated when you move out, so make sure you read through these and you’re aware of the requirements.
  • Assistance animals - it is illegal for a landlord or strata to refuse you keeping an assistance animal. Assistance animals are specially trained and need to be registered to assist a person with a disability.

Ensure they are safe

If you live in an apartment and have a pet, for your pet’s safety ensure dogs are on a leash, and cats are in carriers at all times when outside of your apartment, and that they are calm and well behaved when exposed to people and other pets. It’s important to also be aware of any potential risks you may find around your apartment common areas; things like plants or flowers that may be toxic to your pet or high staircases where your pet may trip or fall down.

VetAssist expert Dr Claire says, “It’s essential to be absolutely sure that there are no hazards in your home, and indoor plants can be one. Eating any plant material can cause vomiting and tummy upsets in cats and dogs, and there are some indoor plants that are particularly toxic. 

Some lilies ( including Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies) are highly toxic and life threatening to cats. Even a small amount licked or eaten can result in severe kidney failure - if this happens,  you should see your Vet immediately.

The Peace Lily doesn't cause kidney disease like other lilies but, similar to some other common indoor plants, including the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) and Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), and despite its name, its ingestion typically causes irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, and may cause salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea.” 

Keep them busy

Most pets will adapt to their surroundings however, it’s important to keep your pet busy if they don’t have a yard to play in. You can use interactive toys or play games with them throughout the day. Keeping your pets busy may help eliminate damage to your apartment and contents from chewing or scratching on walls and carpets. Keep in mind, if you are renting and your pet does cause any damage to the property, it may be your responsibility to fix or pay for the damage.

To reduce boredom and associated destructive behaviours, our VetAssist expert Dr Claire suggests the following:

1. Exercise: Daily walks for dogs, and at least 30-60 minutes play time with your cat. If you can’t do this, there are many options available for help, such as help from pet-loving neighbours, to dog walkers and doggy day care centres.

2. Feed in slow release devices: Especially if you are out and about and your pet is at home. By giving them something to do whilst getting the reward (their meal) you have kept them busy and helped them burn some energy so they are happier to rest later.

3. Play: Introduce some activities, such as hiding a chew toy filled with treats and teaching your pet to find it. You can start by making the toy very easy to find, then gradually increase the work to locate it. For cats, make the most of vertical space with places to climb and hide. Don’t leave all toys out at once; have them on rotation so they feel like new! 

4. Training: Keep the training up beyond puppy school. A daily ritual of 10 minutes of training with positive reinforcement or teaching a new trick or game is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond.

5. Regular routine: Dogs thrive on knowing what to expect and when to expect it. Things can’t be the same every day but following a basic routine of exercise and feeding times can be beneficial.


If you need some advice on how to help your pets with living in an apartment, all Woolworths Pet Insurance customers have exclusive and unlimited access to VetAssist†. The VetAssist vets are available 24/7 from the comfort of your own home and can help with credible vet advice on a number of things including training and behaviour.

Use VetAssist for those moments when you need advice, but your local Vet is unavailable, or when you notice changes in your Pet, but you’re unsure if a visit is needed. In the event of an emergency, you should contact your Vet immediately.

The vets can help with a new or ongoing condition or advise about behaviour or feeding.
Some of these include:

  • Skin conditions including allergies and itchy skin
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Sore paws or broken nails
  • Minor cuts or infections
  • Gums and teeth
  • Smells
  • Diets or weight issues
  • Behavioural problems
  •  

Not all conditions, treatments and vet visits are covered by pet insurance. VetAssist Vets are not able to prescribe medication or provide you with any information about your insurance policy. Any consultation with VetAssist does not guarantee an approved claim.

Get unlimited access to VetAssist free with every new pet policy

With Woolworths VetAssist you can have a video call or online chat consultation with a licensed Australian Vet. It's perfect for those times when you're unsure if a trip to the Vet is required and you need some advice.
 

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Sources:
https://www.domain.com.au/news/pets-now-allowed-in-sydney-apartments-as-blanket-ban-on-animals-lifted-by-nsw-court-of-appeal-994936/
https://eliteagent.com/landmark-judgement-in-favour-of-pets-in-apartments/ https://www.tenants.org.au/resource/guide-renting-pets-nsw
https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/nsw-no-pets-bylaws-strata/

Offer available to new Woolworths Pet Insurance policyholders, and is limited to 1 membership per eligible policy. The free membership offer (valued at $199p.a) is from the date of your policy commencement, provided your Woolworths Pet Insurance policy remains active. You are not eligible to redeem the free membership subscription for cash or credit. VetAssist is a separate subscription based service to the Woolworths Pet Insurance product, and is provided independently by Woolworth’s third party service provider, VetChat Services Pty Ltd (VetChat). Click here for full VetAssist Service terms and conditions. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at anytime, without notice.

Benefits are subject to the terms and conditions including the limits and exclusions of the insurance policy. Cover is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL No. 241436 (Hollard). Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675 AR No. 245476 (Woolworths) acts as Hollard’s Authorised Representative. Any advice provided is general only and may not be right for you. Before you purchase this product you should carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement to decide if it is right for you.