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  4. How many pets are there in Australia?

How many pets are there in Australia?

There are currently an estimated 28.7 million pets in Australia and we have one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world [1]. Approximately 69% of households in Australia own pets, with dogs being the most common (48%), followed by cats (33%) [1].

Figure 1
Figure 1. Percentage of households with pets by pet type. Small mammals include rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and mice. Reptiles include snakes, turtles, tortoises, lizards, frogs and salamanders [1].
Figure 2.
Figure 2. Number of total pet animals by pet type. Small mammals include rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and mice. Reptiles include snakes, turtles, tortoises, lizards, frogs and salamanders [1].

What are the characteristics of Australian pet owners?

Seventy five percent of pet owners live in a multi person household, and 82% of pet owners are from households with incomes of $100,000 or more [1].

In 2022, the bond Australians have with their pets has remained strong despite a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Eight-five percent of owners say their pets have positively impacted their lives. Many pet owners have adopted ‘pet parenting’ behaviours that resemble parent-child relationships – for example, speaking to their pets as though the pet understands what they are saying, and referring to themselves as the pet’s parent [1].

Figure 3
Figure 3. Percentage of pet owners categorised by age in 2022.

The benefits of pet ownership

Common benefits of pet ownership described by pet owners include: [1]

  1. Relational benefits (love, affection and companionship)
  2. Improvement of mental health and wellbeing
  3. Socialisation benefits (e.g., connection to the community and opportunities for human interaction in person or online)
  4. Improvement of physical health

The reasons for getting pets differs by species but common reasons include companionship, relaxation and mental health and to rescue the animal. [1].

How much do Australians spend on their pets?

Overall, Australian households are estimated to have spent over $33 billion on pet services and products in 2022 with food representing 51% of all expenditure, followed by veterinary service at 14%. [1]. Dog owners spent the most, with an estimated average of $3218 spent per animal each year. Cat owners spend an estimated average of $1715 per animal each year [1]. In 2022, 17% of households with dogs and 12% of households with cats have pet insurance, which has fallen since 2019; the main reasons cited for not having pet insurance was the cost and perceived lack of value.

Figure 4.
Figure 4. Expenditures by category of product/service in 2022 [1]. ‘Other’ includes grooming, pet insurance, boarding, competitions/memberships, training/behaviour/therapy, transport, alternative healthcare treatments, walking and anything else.


[1] Animal Medicines Australia (2022) Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people AMAU008-Pet-Ownership22-Report_v1.6_WEB.pdf (animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au) 

Updated on January 9, 2023
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