Recent research shows that our pets are eating into our family finances, perhaps not surprising for us pet lovers. Here’s just how much we spend…

Fur-babies chew into family finances

Pets are adored members of many Australian families yet new AAMI research has revealed they’re unknowingly costing their owners thousands every year. The national survey of more than 1,000 pet owners revealed while the average annual cost of owning a pet is $1,335 per year, more than a third don’t know how much they’re spending.

In addition to necessary items like food, vet bills, medicine and council registration, pets are being treated to grooming, clothes and accessories, signifying the rise of the ‘fur baby’.

“There’s no question pet owners love their pets – three-quarters of people consider them to play a key role in their family and they’re expressing their love in a variety of ways,” Ms Paterson, AAMI spokesperson said.

“But it’s concerning the number of owners who don’t know how much their affection is costing, especially when over the course of a pet’s lifetime it’s potentially $13,000 (average lifespan is 10 years),” said Ms Paterson. “Planning and budgeting for pet expenses not only helps in managing the day-to-day costs, it alleviates the financial stress if unexpected expenses arise.”

Despite more than a third (38%) admitting they love their pets more than family members, the research revealed more than 80% don’t insure them against injury or illness. Visit AAMI pet insurance for more information and peace of mind for your pet.

“Nearly 50% admit to ‘spoiling their pets’, one in four buy their pets more toys and clothing than they need and 10% buy their pets ‘fancy’ accessories.

Other key findings:

What are the most common types of pet expenses?

Type of pet expenses in the last 12 months (percentage of pet owners)



Vet visits




Council registration




Clothing and accessories


Boarding/daycare/pet sitters


Pet insurance


  • Most pets no longer live outside with 76% living inside the house and a further third refer to their pet as their ‘fur babies’.
  • Dogs are the most commonly owned pet (48%), followed by cats (28%), fish (9%) and birds (8%).
  • The main role pets play in the household is being part of the family (76%). This is even higher among female respondents (82%).
  • 30% of younger pet owners (18 to 34-year-olds) have bought clothing and accessories for their pet(s) in the last 12 months. This is higher than the older age groups (21% among 35 to 44-year-olds, 16% among over 55s).


More reading:
Does it pay to get pet insurance?
Furkids: Are your pets your babies?
Plan to insure your pet
Netflix and Woof: Pets are our best binge paw-tner 
A pet insurance expert’s tip for getting the most out of your pet insurance


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