What ‘Pet-Inclusivity’ Really Means (and Why It Matters)

by J Retinger

Many operators at the forefront of pet innovation like to use the term “pet-inclusivity” to describe their pet initiatives and programs. However, a large number of them are missing the mark when it comes to what inclusivity really means and what it encompasses, as well as understanding why being pet-inclusive is so important to their communities. 

According to the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative report by Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), communities with pet-inclusive policies find that their residents stay an average of 21 % longer. Feeling the need to attract a broader resident pool and sustain optimal occupancy rates, operators are finally acknowledging the profound bond between humans and their animals, and through true pet-inclusivity, they’re aiming to provide an environment that embraces and supports pet ownership. By doing so, they’re seeing remarkable results.

The components of a pet-inclusive community 
There are multiple facets to pet-inclusivity, beginning with pet-friendly policies and regulations. By establishing clear and concise pet policies, operators set the foundation for a harmonious coexistence between associates, pet owners and non-pet owners. With rules and regulations in place, operators can set expectations and maintain a well-managed pet-friendly community that residents are eager to stay at.

Another aspect of a pet-inclusive community means implementing practical pet amenities. Features such as dog wash stations, waste stations, dog parks or runs and even pet-friendly social spaces are essential to not only enhancing the overall living experience for pet owners, but for encouraging social interactions and a sense of community among all residents.

Operators can also offer various pet services and programs to further their pet-inclusive initiatives and strengthen their community ties. By partnering with local pet businesses and professionals, operators can create a convenient and supportive ecosystem for pet owners, ensuring that their pets’ needs are met while fostering a strong bond between the community and local businesses. This may include resident discounts on pet-sitting or walking services, pet grooming, training sessions, veterinary care coordination and even hosting pet adoption events.

Lastly, operators can promote responsible pet ownership by providing residents educational resources. By offering them tools like workshops, seminars or online materials that provide information on health and behavioral issues, training and pet care, operators empower residents to be good stewards of their pets and better community members.

Being a pet-inclusive community will undoubtedly allure more quality, long-term residents, but it also offers a multitude of other amazing benefits, including:

Increased Community Engagement – Pets have a unique ability to bring people together, and by delivering a truly pet-inclusive property, operators create a stronger sense of community and a welcoming atmosphere for all residents. Such an environment undoubtedly leads to improved resident satisfaction, an increase in referrals and a more vibrant and cohesive community.

Additional Revenue Streams – Offering pet-related amenities, services and educational programs can generate additional revenue streams for operators. For instance, building connections with surrounding businesses gives operators the opportunity to monetize their pet-friendly efforts in a way that isn’t just advantageous to residents, but to the bottom line as well.

Remain competitive – As the demand for pet-friendly housing options continues to rise, operators who prioritize pet-inclusive communities gain a competitive edge in the market. By meeting the needs of pet owners, operators position themselves as being forward-thinking and responsive to evolving consumer preferences.

Creating a pet-inclusive community involves implementing pet-friendly policies, providing dedicated pet amenities, offering pet services and programs, and educating residents on responsible pet ownership. For operators, the benefits are manifold, including increased resident retention, enhanced community engagement, additional revenue streams and gaining relevance in a highly competitive industry. 

By embracing pet ownership and catering to the needs of both residents and their furry companions, operators can create a thriving and desirable living environment that fosters a strong sense of community and promotes the well-being of all its residents.

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