Pets are part of the Australian way of life. It has been confirmed by scientific research that owning a pet has tangible benefits to both our physical and mental wellbeing, encouraging social interaction and exercise, as well as teaching responsibility and love.
But just how much do Australians love pets? And how much do we spend on them?
Rates of pet ownership in Australia
More than 62% of Australian households own a pet. Of these, 38% are dog owners and 29% are cat owners. In addition to this, 59% of people who do not currently own a pet admit that they would like to own one in the near future.
According to a survey conducted by Animal Medicines Australia, the percentage of households with pets across the country can be broken down to:
- Northern Territory (82%)*
- Australian Capital Territory (75%)
- South Australia (68%)
- Tasmania (66%)
- Victoria (65%)
- New South Wales (60%)
- Queensland (58%)
- Western Australia (57%)
*small sample size for Northern Territory means this should be interpreted with caution
Australia has a similar pet ownership rate to America (65% of homes have a pet), and significantly more than the UK, in which just 40% of homes have a pet.
Australia’s pet population is as follows;
- Dogs = 4.8 million
- Cats = 3.9 million
- Birds = 4.2 million
- Fish = 8.7 million
- Reptiles and small mammals= 952,000
- Other = 1.6 million
If these statistics don’t prove just how much we love our pets then perhaps this will; a higher proportion of us live in a house with a cat and/or a dog than with a child. The ratio of pets to the human population in Australia is around 101:100, meaning there are more animal companions than homo-sapiens.
For more detailed information on pet ownership and the benefits it presents, visit Animal Planet.
How much do people spend on their pets?
According to the Animal Medicines Australia, Australians spend an enormous $12.2 billion per year on their furry family members. The RSPCA also estimates that the average dog costs roughly $13,000 over the course of its lifetime.
Taking into consideration all pet costs, including food, veterinary services and more, then the average dog will cost a household $1,475 per year. For cats, it’s $1,029. However, this doesn’t mean that cats are cheaper, as cats have a minimum expected lifespan of 15 years as opposed to 10-13 years for dogs. Many cats have been known to live for over 20 years, depending on how cushy their lives are.
An estimated $490 million is spent on insurance for Australian pets every year
Interestingly, two thirds of households with dogs or cats regards their furry companions as part of the family. If this doesn’t show just how much we care about our pets, then nothing will.