Owning a pet in Australia is very common however, only a few people are aware of how much a pet can bite off the household budget — and that's just not the food we're talking about. Check out this article for the various costs to consider before committing to be a pet owner.
The cost of a pet - is it within your budget?
Australians are known for being a nation of animal lovers. Based on data from the Australian Companion Animal Council, Aussies have one of the highest frequencies of pet-ownership in the world!
Dogs and cats are among our favourites; with about 36% of Australian households owning a dog, and 23% owning a cat. We know the companionship our pets can bring, as well as the social interaction they can provide, but are you aware of the other benefits too, such as:
- Decrease in cholesterol and blood pressure
- Increase in physical activity
- Reduction in the occurances of allergies and a stronger immune system
- An opportunity for children to learn empathy, responsibility, and respect
When considering owning a pet, you should expect costs for the pet's basic necessities such as food, beddings, and regular visits to the vet. However, there are other costs involved that you may not have given much thought to.
Simply purchasing a pet from pet breeders can cost anywhere from $100s to $1,000s. There are also additional services that are necessary such as de-sexing, microchipping, and vaccination.
Although, rescued pets may provide fewer surprises for the willing owner. Pet shelters are teeming with pets that have been abandoned and are seeking a shot at finding their forever homes. Adoptions cost cheaper than purchasing from breeders ranging from $200 and below. Other services such as microchipping and vaccinations are counted in the adoption fee. After finally getting a pet, you would have to include your new family member into your budget. Weekly grocery shopping for pet food can cost $2 per 700g can for standard dogs, while large dogs may need more than one can per day on top of dry food and treats.
Generally, municipalities require that pets must be registered. However, this also incurs additional cost. You also have to consider fencing as your pets need to be constrained within your property. This means that you need to ensure that your boundaries are fenced securely. Meanwhile, cat owners are subject to investing in a cat-friendly enclosure.
You can keep your pets mentally stimulated to avoid property damage through possible escape attempts or simply boredom by providing toys and giving your pets regular exercise time. Healthcare for pets can be costly as well. According to research from moneysmart.gov.au, estimates for health care can start at around $3,000 which excludes unexpected health problems.
There are plenty of available pet insurance policies that are offered starting from $50 per month. Just like checking your own insurance, you need to choose carefully and read the policy document included for:
- Eligibility and age limitations
- Limits and benefits
- Pre-existing conditions
- Discounts and waiting periods
- Other options
Your pet's condition may require you to regularly contribute to an account that is dedicated to them in order to ensure there are funds available when needed.
You can lessen costs by providing a happy and healthy environment for your pet through regular exercise and proper dieting, as well as allotted play time. When going on holiday, pet care can also be counted as additional cost where dog boarding kennels can charge from around $40/day and cats at $20/day. You can alternatively seek a pet-sitter to stay at your home where you can pay around $30 per night.
With financial institutions keeping a closer watch on household expenses, lenders are even stricter about approving applications for loans without being provided a full household budget.
Our team of licensed financial advisors can work with you on budgeting your income and expenses to help you determine if you can afford welcoming a new member into your family. Committing to a pet can be seen as a long-term financial obligation, but the rewards are definitely proven. Majority of households in Australia would agree.
Back To Media and Resources