The Cost of Owning a Pet
With three in five Australian households owning a pet,[i] it’s safe to say that we love our animal friends. In fact, we often treat them as part of the family.
While our pets are tugging at our heartstrings, they’re also pulling on the purse strings. According to Animal Medicines Australia, Australians spent more than $12.2 billion on pet products and services in 2016.[ii] So, what does it actually cost to keep your pet happy and healthy?
How much does it cost to get a new pet?
The most popular pets in Australia are dogs, followed by cats, then fish, birds, rabbits, lizards, snakes and guinea pigs.[iii]
- Initial purchase: Depending on where you buy your pet and what breed you choose, you might pay anything from $200 to $3,500 or more.
- Vet expenses: Microchipping, desexing and vaccinations are necessary while your pet is young. If you get your pet from the local pound or rescue service, the purchase fee often includes desexing and vaccinations.
- Registration: You’ll need to register your cat or dog with your local council. Fees vary, but can cost between $20 and $190 per year.
- Accessories: Expect to spend up to $500 initially on collars, leads, bowls, bedding, litter trays and scratching posts.
How much should you budget to look after your pet?
On average, owning a dog can set you back approximately $1,475 per year, while a cat is slightly cheaper at around $1,029 per year.
Here’s a glimpse at what you might expect to pay each year for your cat or dog, according to Animal Medicines Australia:
- Visits to the vet: Routine visits to the vet total an average of $397 for dogs and $273 for cats. If you buy health products (such as worm tablets, flea and tick treatments) while you’re there, you might expect to spend an additional $248 for your dog and $159 for your cat.[vi]
- Food: On average, Australian dog owners spend $622 a year on pet food, while cat owners spend $576. Research shows we’re increasingly looking for quality pet food, including products that contain natural and organic ingredients.[vii]
- Boarding kennels: On average, pet owners spend $86 for dogs and $80 for cats on boarding kennels per year.
- Grooming: Annually you might expect to spend $129 on dog grooming, considerably more than cat grooming, which averages out at $45.[viii]
- Other expenses: Consider what your new pet might need, especially if they’re Think obedience training, grooming, walking, pet sitting and so on.
Despite these costs, deciding to add a pet to your family isn’t likely to be about the about the numbers – but it is a consideration. After all, what price can you put on your best friend’s wellbeing?
Looking for help with covering the cost of the vet? Check out our pet insurance policies.
Any advice provided on this website is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any product.
- [i] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016
- [ii] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016,
- [iii] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016
- [iv] ASIC’s MoneySmart
- [v] ASIC’s MoneySmart
- [vi] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016
- [vii] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016
- [viii] Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016