30 August 2021

Survey reveals the spending and care habits of aussie pet owners

Australia’s most authoritative pets survey has revealed how much pet owners are spending on their beloved cats and dogs every year, while also showing one in five pet owners haven’t visited the vet in the last two years.

Animal Medicines Australia’s new Pets and the Pandemic report shows that cat and dog owners are spending thousands on their pets each year, averaging around $3,200 per dog and $2,100 per cat.

Indicatively, dog owners across Australia have cumulatively spent $20.5 billion in last year, while cat owners have spent $10.2 billion.

Food leads as the largest category of spending for pets, followed by pet health-related items.

The most common factors considered when making purchase decisions on pet food are the pet’s own food and taste preferences, the quality of ingredients, perceptions of price and value for money, and whether the food is nutritionally complete.

Supermarkets are the most popular place to buy pet food. Meanwhile, pet owners tend to buy healthcare products for their pets from vets.

Vets also remain the top source of information for pet-related issues. On average, pets have been taken to the vet twice since the onset of the pandemic (more frequently for dogs, at 2.5 times)—with vaccinations and general check-ups being the most common reasons for a visit to the vet.

Despite this, one in five pet owners haven’t visited the vet in the last two years. The survey found that the top reasons for not visiting the vet or visiting the vet less were cost, owners feeling that they already know what to do to help a sick pet, and owners turning to online resources to resolve any issues.

It comes as Animal Medicines Australia’s new Pets and the Pandemic study also found pet numbers have exploded across the country, with nationally, 69% of households now having a pet, significantly higher than 61% only two years ago.

Quotes attributable to Animal Medicines Australia Executive Director Ben Stapley:

“With all the new pets in the lives of pet owners and despite the interruptions of lockdowns, we’d really love to see owners getting their pets in front of vets for regular check-ups. A strong and ongoing relationship with a veterinarian improves the level of care throughout the life of each pet.”

“Leaning more about the habits of pet owners can help us and the industry figure out ways of reducing barriers to pet ownership and enabling more Australian to experience the joy and comfort pets bring to our lives.”

“We encourage all pet owners to make sure that their veterinarian is their first point of contact when it comes to food and to health products. Professional advice will help owners provide the best diet, healthcare and welfare for their pets.”


The study was conducted by Newgate Research, one of Australia’s most sought-after market and social research firms. The study included deep focus group conversations with dog and cat owners from around the country, validated through a nationally representative online survey of more than 1,000 adults – resulting in a robust maximum error margin of +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.

Newgate is a founding member of the Australian Polling Council, with a full methodology disclosure statement for this study available on the Newgate website.

Survey reveals the spending and care habits of aussie pet owners

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