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 which AAMI Spokesperson Ashleigh Paterson said isn’t surprising given 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 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 per cent) admitting they love their pets more than family members, the research revealed more than 80 per cent don’t insure them against injury or illness.

“Given the important role pets play in the lives of millions of Australians, it’s interesting to see how owners prioritise their pet-related purchases,” Ms Paterson said.

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

“But we know the cost of caring for a pet can significantly blow out if they have an accident or become ill, which is why owners should seriously consider protecting them, and themselves, from any unforeseen circumstances.”

Help is at hand with insurance brand AAMI, together with petinsurance.com.au, teaming up to look out for your whole family by offering insurance solutions that give pet owners peace of mind.

Visit www.aami.com.au/pet-insurance for more information.

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/day care/pet sitters


Pet insurance


  • Most pets no longer live outside with 76 per cent 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).

Note to editor: Suncorp 2018 national research with 1,017 pet owners, conducted by AMR

Petinsurance.com.au is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard) is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Platform Ventures Pty Ltd ABN 626 745 177; AR 001266101)(Ventures) under the AAMI brand and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and Ventures are Authorised Representatives of PetSure.