Pet ownership in Australia

When most people think about the word “pets”, they usually think about a cat or dog. This isn’t surprising considering they’re the most common type of pets we see outside. However, the pets who steal our hearts come in all different shapes and sizes. From birds, guinea pigs, rats and small reptiles, all pets are an important part of our family.

At an estimated 63%, Australia has one of the highest rates of household pet ownership in the world. According to the Pet Ownership Australia 2016 report by Animal Medicines Australia*, household pet ownership is made up of the following types of animals:

  • 38% dogs
  • 29% cats
  • 11.8% fish
  • 11.8% birds
  • 3.1% small mammals (including rabbits, guinea pigs, mice/rats)
  • 2.7% reptiles (including snakes, turtles and lizards).
Pet ownership in Australia

Some of these smaller percentages may seem like nothing, but we’re talking around 8.7 million fish nationally*! Compare this to the 4.8 million dog population in Australia and it becomes easier to grasp the numbers. The Pet Ownership Australia 2016 report also found some other really interesting insights from their research, including that pet owners are more likely to be middle to high income earners, female and from generations Y or X. It was also discovered that we’re spending more on products and services to enhance the wellbeing of pets, highlighting our willingness to do what it takes to keep our pets happy. The highest proportion of cat owners from their sample also came from Victoria, while 46% of the survey participants who owned a dog earned $100,000 or more per year*. All these things combined with an increasing number of people renting, are factors that may contribute to the strong demand for pet friendly rentals in Australia.

Unfortunately, the report also found that increasing urbanisation combined with strata laws present the biggest threats to growing pet ownership in Australia*. With such a diverse range of renters and pets to match, landlords and Body Corporates are provided with an opportunity to focus on identifying the appropriateness of each pet for their property, instead of the blanket “no pets” approach commonly adopted now. Embracing this opportunity can not only bring numerous potential benefits but can also significantly impact lives and improve animal welfare outcomes.



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