Nothing quite compares to the love, companionship and snuggles of a pet.
Aussies seem to understand this, as pet owners outnumber non-owners in Australia. Three in five households nationally own a pet, according to a 2019 report from Animal Medicines Australia, and Australians are known to spend big on their furry friends.
About 40 per cent of households have at least one dog, making them the most preferred type of pets in Australia. Cats are also popular, and can be found in more than a quarter of all households locally.
But before you head off to the animal shelter, you should seriously consider whether you’re prepared to commit to a new pet for their entire lives. The RSPCA reckons pooches can live between 10 and 20 years, while feline companions can live between 15 and 20 years.
While pets can be great additions to the family, they can often come with hefty upfront and ongoing expenses. Before bringing your furry friend home, do some thorough research and estimate what the costs might be, and how you plan to pay for those costs in the long term.
How much does it cost to acquire a pet?
In many cases, it’s possible to find a pet for free, or close to free, from family, friends or neighbours. Another option is to adopt a stray or rescue animal from shelters, which may set you back an adoption fee. You could also consider becoming a pet foster carer if you’re not ready or unable to own a permanent pet.
For animals that aren’t free, the average dog cost $627 and the average cat $308.
The most expensive cats and dogs typically come from breeders, costing about four times the price of those from shelters.
|Avg cost from breeders||Avg cost from pet shops||Avg cost from shelters|
Source: Animal Medicines Australia.
What are the upfront costs of owning a pet?
Acquiring the pet is often one of the biggest initial costs of pet ownership, but it’s not the only expense you’ll need to pay upfront.
The initial period of owning a dog or cat is generally the most expensive. You can expect to fork out between $3,000 and $6,000 in the first 12 months, according to MoneySmart.
Some potential upfront costs of owning a pet include:
- Registration – $30 to $190 per year (depending on your council and whether your pet is desexed).
- Microchipping, vaccinations and desexing – up to $1,000 in the first year of ownership, or in some cases, this may already be done before you adopt.
- Flea, tick and worming treatments – $300 to $450 a year (the bigger your pet, the more expensive this may be).
- Essentials (e.g. bed, bowls, collar and toys) – up to $500 in the first year, and about $100 per year after that.
Depending on how you plan to buy your pet and all those essentials, it’s pretty clear the costs can add up. Having the money readily available is one way you can write off the cost quickly, but a personal loan might ease the initial blow considerably.
However, it’s not the only cost you’ll want to have considered.
What are the ongoing costs of owning a pet?
The ongoing costs of pet ownership are one of the biggest concerns of those who don’t have a pet, yet still want one.
It’s hard to estimate the exact ongoing costs of owning a pet, as it will depend largely on the pet and your household’s lifestyle. As with anything, it’s possible to splurge or save when taking care of your furry friend, so you may want to set a budget to control expenses.
Overall, Animal Medicines Australia research shows the ongoing cost of pet ownership could set you back:
- an average of $1,627 per year for dogs
- an average of $962 for cats.
While not everything is essential, some of the top necessities for pets, such as food, vet services and pet healthcare products, could cost hundreds of dollars a year.
Note that vet services and healthcare may cost more if your pet gets into an accident or falls ill.
|Avg annual household spend, 2019||Dogs||Cats|
|Pet healthcare products||$224||$147|
|Products or accessories||$157||$96|
|Clipping / grooming||$154||$45|
|Boarding / minding||$108||$96|
|Training / behaviour / therapy||$70||$36|
|Alternative healthcare treatments||$57||$44|
|Competitions / memberships||$35||$29|
|Average per animal||$1,627||$962|
Source: Animal Medicines Australia.
Will you need a personal loan for a pet?
All the costs of owning a pet can add up. From the initial blow of adoption cost to training, treats, clipping, and more, pet ownership isn’t going to be within reach of everyone, at least not initially.
That furry companion can be a costly exercise, and one that might be easier to connect with as an ongoing cost through a personal loan.
However, it’s worth noting that while paying a personal loan is an ongoing cost, owning a pet is continually ongoing, and so you might end up racking up substantial debt, particularly if something happens.
Consider the ongoing cost of a personal loan by using a personal loan calculator, and work out whether the cost of a personal loan for pets is worth it for you.