We love our pets and it’s no surprise that our lives and behaviour revolve around our feathered, furred or finned creatures. Real Insurance have surveyed Aussies to find out just how deep our love is…

Australia’s Love of Animal Companions

With our generous land-to-population ratio and historical roots in agriculture, it’s no surprise that we Australians love our pets. A Real Insurance survey has delved deeper into this phenomenon to find out more about why Australians love pets. The survey looks at our views on pets, our love of our pets relative to other members of the household, and how pets affect our decision-making about things like holidays and buying a home.

Our relationship with our pets

Australian people love pets

Children and partners versus pets

Many Australians liken their relationship with their pet with parenting and/or romantic relationships. For example, one in five pet owners think owning a pet is a substitute for having children, while seven in ten say it’s good practice for having children.

Similarly, two in five pet owners think their pet substitutes for having a partner, with benefits such as good company (83.3%), unconditional love and affection (79.2%), and loyalty and trust (72.2%). Pet owners spend an average of $202 a year on gift for their pets, and one in three said they prefer their pet’s company over that of their partner.

Do you choose your property based on your pet?

Pets, property, and partners

We Australian love our pets so much that 75.3% of pet owners agree that their pets would influence their choice of property when moving to a new house. As many as 17.8% of singles who are pet owners said they would end a relationship if a potential partner didn’t like their pet.

44.3% of dog owners who are single say it would be a problem if a prospective partner were to be a cat person, compared with 37.9% of cat owners who are single agreeing that a prospective partner being a dog person is a problem. 63.5% of pet owners who are married or have a partner say their partner appreciates them more than their pet does, with the remaining 36.5% feeling more appreciated by their pets than their partner.

Love your partner as much as your pet?

Feeding pets and leaving pets at home

Two in three pet owners admit to feeling of guilt due to leaving their pets at home during the day when they’re at work, but 69.2% said they make up for it with extra affection and love.

The majority (75.3%) of pet owners use readymade pet food to feed their pets, with 90.7% of cat owners doing so and 66.6% of dog owners choosing pet food over home-prepared pet meals.

Humanising our pets

46.9% of pet owners say there’s some truth to the saying that pets look like their owners, and 64.5% think pets adopt the same personality as their owner. Around two out of three pet owners admit to humanising their pets, and 13.9% of owners say they buy clothing for their pets.


Where do we buy our pets?

One of the surprising findings is the clear difference between dog and cat owners when it comes to where and how they purchase their fur babies. While 41.9% of cat owners buy their cat from a rescue shelter, 45% of dog owners buy direct from breeders.

Of those who buy from rescue shelters, 81.2% say it’s because they feel good about saving a life, while 48.5% say it’s because the animal is already microchipped, desexed, and treated for worms. One in three say they do it to protest against breeding mills.

Taking time

In a similar fashion to parents who take time off work for their children, 29.3% of pet owners surveyed admitted to taking time off from work for a pet related reason. Of those people, dog owners take an average of 10 hours off, while a cat owner will only take an average 8 hours off.

Interestingly, this is relatable to the statistic that when pet owners are at work during the day, only 71.9% leave their pet at home. 9.3% of pet owners are retired or do not work and so do not leave their pet at home on a regular basis; 6.2% leave their pet with a partner/friend/family; 2.7% take their pet with them to work, and 2.5% leave their pet with a professional pet minder or pet day care.

Pets are clearly an essential part of the Australian family home. How do you see your pet?

Real Insurance Pet Infographic on Dr Jo's Blog


  1. The percentage of this study is very interesting. A lot of people can actually relate to most if not all the things considered in the infographic.

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