Skip to Content

myths about pets

myth: pets should live outdoors

Twenty years ago, the typical Australian pet spent most, if not all, of their time outdoors, primarily in the backyard.

That just isn’t the case anymore. Our research showed that around one-third of respondents’ pets had limited ability to access outdoor space by themselves, with 21% having independent access to outdoors sometimes and 5% occasionally. Another 13% of pets were only allowed outdoors under supervision, while 9% (4% of dogs and 14% of cats) were never allowed outdoors.

Interestingly, the research also showed that only a few short decades ago 39% of respondents’ family pets spent most of their time outdoors and only 23% spent most of their time indoors. In stark contrast, only 21% of respondents’ current pets spend most of their time outdoors, whilst 53% spend most of their time indoors. In fact, almost a third of all dogs spent virtually all their time indoors.

myth: dogs and cats need a big backyard

When they are allowed out, the majority of our respondents’ pets actually spent their time in a confined area. For example, 51% spent their time in the garden (63% of dogs and 43% of cats) and 32% spent time in a courtyard (39% of dogs and 26% of cats). Just over one-quarter (26%) of pets spent their time on the verandah, while another 20% (13% of dogs and 25% of cats) spent their time in a communal area.

myth: apartment complexes aren’t pet-friendly

Many apartment complexes have communal areas which can be used by people and their companion animals. Over half of our respondents’ pets (53%) living in units were allowed to use common areas in an apartment block, with dogs being more likely than cats to be able to use common areas (61% compared to 49%). Less than one-third (33%) of pets living in units were not allowed to use common areas. This was more common for cats (38%) compared to dogs (23%).

Many apartments now cater to pet owners’ needs and actively encourage pet ownership. Some have great access to off-leash areas for dogs and many have large, contained verandahs.

myth: cats should be able to wander

It’s no longer acceptable for pet owners to allow their pets to wander unsupervised. In fact, the majority of respondents’ cats (52%) did not leave their owner’s dwelling without supervision.