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Plenty of homes in Australia are filled with the patter of tiny, fury feet. According to a recent survey by Animal Medicines Australia, three in five households have a pet of some kind.1 Whilst the report found that the number of feline and canine pets in Australia has grown over the past few years, so have the costs associated with owning a pet.
Pets are popular – but when it comes to the age-old question of cats or dogs, it appears that our canine friends have the edge. According to the Pet Ownership in Australia Report, 38 per cent of households own at least one dog, while 29 per cent of households have at least one cat. In population terms, this results in 4.8 million dogs and 3.9 million cats.
Interestingly, both dogs and cats are significantly outnumbered by fish, with Aussie households owning around 8.72 million fish, and birds round out the top four, at 4.18 million.e report found that the number of feline and canine pets in Australia has grown over the past few years, so have the costs associated with owning a pet.
The cost of pets
According to the Pet Ownership in Australia report, the average annual cost of a dog is $1,475, while cat owners pay $1,029 on average each year.1 So before you rush out to buy a very cute and potentially expensive new best friend, it’s worth considering some of the major expenses.
If you’re a pet owner, how do these costs compare to what you spend? If you’re not sure of your ongoing spending, why not give QSuper’s Money Map a try? Money Map brings together your savings, mortgage, super, and credit card account information onto a secure online dashboard, so you can quickly and easily get a complete picture of your current financial position!
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) recently praised pet owners for taking a proactive approach to maintaining the health of their pets, leading to pets living longer, happier lives.1
President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Dr Robert Johnson, said that more and more pet owners consider their pets as part of the family, placing more emphasis on a vet’s role in preventing illness rather than treating problems.
“Pet owners now place almost as much value on a vet’s role in being proactive in preventing illness as they do in a vet’s role in treating illness or injury,” he said.
“It’s a positive shift in thinking because being proactive when it comes to healthcare will give pets the best chance of avoiding illness and living longer. It also helps to avoid more serious illness which can lead to more time and money in treatments. It’s great to see pet owners working in partnership with their vets to develop a health plan that’s right for the owner, their pet and their budget.”
Be prepared, as the first year of pet ownership can be one of the most expensive. In fact, the RSPCA NSW estimates the first-year costs for a dog at between $2,350 and $5,220, and the first-year costs of a cat at between $1,150 and $3,570.2
In addition to the initial purchase price (which depending on the breed and where you buy the animal can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand) that first twelve month period can encompass several rounds of vaccinations as well as desexing costs.
With vet care potentially one of the largest annual expenses owners face, pet insurance can help cover the cost if your pet gets sick or injured. Many insurance companies set premiums based on the size, age and breed of your pet, as well as the level of cover.
Some pet insurance policies may pay a certain amount for accidents only, while some may pay for certain types of illness, or even contribute towards the costs of vaccinations. As with all forms of insurance, it’s important to read the policy inclusions, limits, exclusions and waiting periods carefully.
Owning a pet can be a massive commitment from both a financial and emotional perspective, but it’s one that also delivers many unforgettable moments and rewards.
1 Australian Veterinary Association media release, 24/1/17.
2 RSPCA NSW: https://www.rspcansw.org.au/learn/owning-a-pet/costs Sourced 20/3/17.
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