Study Shows Australians Love Spending Money On Their Pets

Over half of all Australian households have pets, so it comes as no surprise that we also love spending money on them. Seeing as owning pets is a scientifically proven method of de-stressing, it just makes sense. A recent report commissioned by RaboBank found that when the going gets tough, pet owners would rather spend less on essentials like electricity and groceries than reducing spending on their precious pets. Almost half of all pet owners ranked having an animal companion to be more important to their wellbeing than having a social life.

Photo by Jaromir Chalabala /

In a country where 53 per cent of households have an animal at home, the most important question as always is: cats or dogs? Sorry cat people, but the dogs win out in Australia. Dogs come in as the most popular pet at 68 per cent ownership, with cats following behind at 49 per cent. Fish and birds come a lot further behind at 18 and 17 per cent respectively. Less popular pets include horses and reptiles, each with 2 per cent.

As adorable as they are, pets can be fairly pricey to own, as any dog or cat lover will know already. More than half of pet owners spend more than $50 a month on their pets, while 21 per cent spend more than $100 per month. No guesses as to the most expensive pet: horses win that one, with more than a quarter of horse owners spending more than whopping $200 per month on their charges. Birds dominate the other end of the spectrum: nearly half of all bird owners have to spend less than $50 a month on their pets.

With most pets’ expenses coming somewhere in the middle of that range, it’s no wonder Aussies spend so much on their pets, especially for those people who have more than one furry friend. Yet, when asked if they would reduce spending on their pets if their income dropped, only 14 per cent said yes. Almost half responded that they would rather make an effort to minimise power bills, with 47 per cent saying they would reduce spending on essentials and 16 per cent saying they would rather look for additional work before cutting their pet’s budget.

Quirky stats relating to pet ownership that came out of the 2015 Financial Health Barometer include:
Of the 2,500 Australians, aged between 18 and 65 that were surveyed in the 2015 Financial Health Barometer, only 14 per cent of pet owners would reduce spending on their pets if their income dropped
Remarkably, almost half (48 per cent) of respondents would take steps to minimise their power usage. We’d be more likely to reduce spending on essentials (47 per cent), switch to using cheaper products (35 per cent) or look for additional work (16 per cent) rather than curb spending on our furry friends. When asked to rank what they considered essential to their wellbeing, this was the resulting list, from most to least essential:

Being able to own your home
Being able to buy fresh produce
Being able to keep pets
Being able to afford to socialise with friends
Being able to live in an area you like
Being able to retire before you are 65
Being able to buy new items of clothing/shoes regularly
Being able to have at least one overseas holiday every 12 months
Being able to eat in a restaurant at least once per week
Being able to visit a hairdresser, beautician, nail salon etc. regularly

One fifth of all pet owners have jumped in on the new trend of pet insurance, while six in ten would pay for an emergency medical procedure for their pets regardless of the cost. Of course if you are strapped for cash but you don’t want to stop spoiling your beloved pet, why not have a go at making one of the many DIY pet toys we’ve written about earlier?

Check out some of the most interesting facts to come out of RaboBank’s Financial Health Barometer here:

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