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Cost of pet ownership

Australia is officially a nation of pet lovers. With one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, we have around 25 million pets living in almost 63% of all Australian homes – that's 2 million more pets than people in our population1. The majority of these are cats (29%) and dogs (39%)2 , and as almost all pet owners consider them part of the family, it's no wonder we're spending big on our furry friends.

Did you know that over the lifespan of the average dog, owners will generally spend more than $25,000 on their canine companion? For cat owners, this figure is around $15,0003. This includes things like vet services, clipping and grooming, training, therapy and boarding. The pet industry is now worth around $8 billion a year, with people prioritising spending on their pets as they would a member of their family.

Pet health care

One item that's becoming more and more popular is pet health insurance. This may have to do with the fact that every year, Australians spend over $1 billion on vet bills. Treatments are becoming more advanced and items like prescription diets and alternative therapies are becoming more popular for devoted cat and dog owners.

Pet insurance is a great way to get health cover for our beloved pets and costs on average around $350 a year4. Over the course of a pet’s lifespan you could pay up to $5,000 in total premiums at today’s prices, depending on the breed. Conversely without pet insurance it could take a single accident or illness for you to be stuck with a bill that equals or exceeds this amount. In fact, PetSure Australia Pty Ltd says that in the last financial year, dog owners have claimed payouts of $8,687.78 for treatment for twisted stomach, $4,211 for cruciate ligaments, and $2,934 for inflamed intestines. Cat owners have claimed $6,643.20 for tumours, $2,943.98 for ligament tears and $2,895.50 for pneumonia treatment5. Imagine having to pay this from your own pocket in a single blow.

Another interesting fact shown by the recent research is that pet owners live happier and healthier lives, it's no surprise that we're willing to spend the big bucks on our cats and dogs. Pet owners typically visit the doctor less often, have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, recover faster from illness and surgery and enjoy increased quality of life and companionship6. Now we can also be better off by easing the pressure of vet bills with pet health insurance. Small regular payments mean you'll significantly reduce the likelihood of ever needing to balance the needs of your cat or dog with the cost of their medical treatment. The time you commence cover is important, because policies generally exclude pre-existing conditions. To get the most out of your policy the ideal time to start cover is when you first purchase your new pet, as this will minimise the potential for pre-existing conditions to be excluded under the policy.

This is general information and does not take into account your financial situation or needs.


  1. It's raining cats and dogs
  2. Pet Ownership in Australia 2013,
    https://petsinaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2013-Summary-ONLINE-VER.pdf
  3. Pet ownership costs
  4. Paws for thought on pet care cost
  5. PetSure Australia Pty Ltd Claim Figures 2012/13. Payment subject to benefit percentage. All amounts are average payments per condition and are net claim amounts after deduction of co-payments.
  6. Australians and their Pets The Facts