The Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022

The Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 the latest edition in the Choosi Research Series and reveals the cost and benefits of owning a pet in Australia.

Pets hold a special place in our hearts and are an important part of our lives, with Australian pet owners willing to go above and beyond for their furry friends – no matter the cost!

The Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 is the latest edition in the Choosi Research Series and reveals the cost and benefits of owning a pet in Australia. The research explores the relationship between pets and their owners and how this impacts their lives. It also investigates the amount of time and money Aussies are willing to spend on their pets.

Felines and canines keep us feelin’ fine

Nothing compares to the joy of coming home and snuggling up with a loyal furry friend. With almost no effort at all, pets make their owners much happier (62%), they positively influence their mental wellbeing (96%) and physical health (88%), as well as mood and stress levels (55%). This has particularly been the case during COVID-19 lockdowns, with pet owners reporting that their pets helped them avoid loneliness (42%).

With one-third of pet owners adding a new pet to their family in the last two years (33%), most feel this decision was influenced by experiences through lockdowns and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic (58%).

Almost half of these furry friends have received more attention during the lockdown periods compared to before (48%), which has unfortunately led to many pets showing separation anxiety now that household members are getting out more often and for longer periods (45%). Our pets can be a handful, sometimes too much to handle, with nearly a quarter of pet owners saying they occasionally have second thoughts about owning one (23%). Conversely, three in five (62%) would never second-guess this decision.

Fur or human baby?

For most owners, pets are considered members of the family and their company is preferred over most humans (75%). It seems pets are fulfilling the lives of their owners, with the majority reporting their pet makes them less anxious about finding a partner (64%) and is taking some pressure off having children (59%).

Pets even impact their owner’s dating lives, as they feel their pet’s influence their choice of romantic partner (41%). Most would even consider breaking up with a partner that did not get along with their pet (58%). It seems our furry friends come first!

Happy pet = happy life

The love an owner has for their pet is endless, which explains why most are not afraid to splurge on their furry friend.

Pet owners are willing to pay over $100 a month for discretionary items just to spoil their pet (26%), and some even spend over $500 (12%). The average amount spent on the most expensive gifts for pets, such as a toy or play areas, is $227.

When it comes to food, it seems four-legged companions are receiving the best treatment, with most owners buying premium pet food brands (74%).

Pet owners like to make their pet’s birthday special, spending $193 on average on birthday parties, with cats enjoying more lavish parties than their canine counterparts ($247 vs $165).

A pet is not all glitz and glamour

While there’s countless benefits of having a pet, many pet owners state that there are some inevitable costs and time required to take care of a pet, making it not always easy to own one. For example, many pet owners believe the cost of taking care of pets has become more expensive in the last two years (58%).

However, the research shows pet owners are willing to sacrifice their personal spending, such as getting take away and eating out, to take care of their pets (56%), even going to the extent of reducing spending on clothes, shoes, and apparel to buy expensive things for their pets and fund their healthcare needs (53%).

Monthly spending on a pet can be a lot for some, with 1 in 3 pet owners spending more than ten percent of their total monthly income on their pets (32%), and spending over $300 on their pet every month (23%).

Food and medical expenses can also add up, with many spending over $500 a year on pet medical costs (37%). However, money is no object for most pet lovers, with more than half (65%) willing to spend $1,000 or more to take care of a pet medical emergency.

Pet insurance rising in popularity

Pet insurance is becoming more popular, with over a quarter of pet owners (29%) having pet insurance and almost one-fifth considering getting it (17%).

Although pet insurance can be expensive, many pet owners take out cover to give them peace of mind should anything happen (36%). Pet owners with insurance also state they save money on expensive treatments (32%), with the average claim being $1,536 (41%).

Career choice and pets

More than half of Aussie pet owners feel guilty leaving their pet alone for extended periods of time due to work or lifestyle commitments (72%), especially as people begin returning to their busy lives now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased.

Not only do pets influence relationships, but their needs are also influencing their owner’s workplace and career choices (36%). The biggest factor impacting their choice of job is having the flexibility to leave if their pet needs care (36%), no travel requirements (30%), flexible working hours and conditions (24%) and being able to work from home to some degree (22%).

Pet friendly housing

Pets are impacting their owner’s choice of living as well, with 3 in 5 feeling that the needs of their pet influence their property choices (61%). Pet owners who rent are looking for pet-friendly apartment buildings (55%), enough internal space (49%), a balcony (39%) and pet-friendly neighbourhoods (34%). Whereas house hunters are looking for properties with secure fencing (64%) and a garden (58%) to keep their furry friends happy.

These increased needs and requirements that come with pet ownership are making it more difficult for renters to find properties to live in (79%).

Travelling with pets – a growing demand

As Aussies begin to travel again, many pet owners feel they are being held back and report their pets limit the frequency and length of the holidays they wish to take (74%) or feel that their holiday destinations are limited because of their pets (64%). Over 2 in 3 pet owners wish there were more accommodation options for bringing pets on holiday (68%), such as the ability to let pets stay in rooms (59%), pet-friendly staff and guests (53%) and areas where pets can safely roam free (52%).

It is clear that having a pet is less about having an adorable accessory to snuggle with at night, and more about committing to fully nurturing and cherishing a companion. That is why pets are considered a key part of the family and most pet owners will agree, the challenges that come with owning a pet are well-worth the reward.