Australians are a nation of animal lovers. According to the Australian Companion Animal Council, we have one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world!
Dogs and cats are our favs; around 36% of Australian households own a dog, and 23% own a cat. We’re familiar with the companionship pets bring, and the social interaction they foster, but there are other benefits too, such as:
- Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol
- Increased physical activity
- Strengthened immune system
- Children learn responsibility, empathy, and respect.
When considering a pet, you expect costs like food, bedding, and the annual vet visit, but there are other costs you may not have thought about.
Let’s start at the beginning. Those purchasing a pet from a breeder could pay anywhere from $100s to $1,000s. Additionally, there are de-sexing, vaccination, and microchipping costs.
Conversely, there are fewer surprises from rescued cats and dogs. Shelters are overflowing with abandoned pets seeking a second chance and adoptions cost around $200 for puppies and kittens or anything from $150 for adult dogs and cats. De-sexing, vaccinations and microchipping are included in the adoption fee.
But that’s not the end of it. How much, for example, will your pet grow and can your weekly grocery budget expand to feed another hungry family member? Standard dog food can be around $2 per 700g tin. If you choose to give your new friend premium or organic food then the cost is significantly more. A word from the wise (or silly)……Big dogs eat a lot!
Pets must be registered – at a cost, of course. Then you need to think about fencing. Pets must be restricted to your property meaning ensuring your boundaries are securely fenced; cat-owners may need to invest in a cat-safe enclosure.
Regularly exercising your pet and providing toys to keep them mentally stimulated will assist in preventing costly property damage through boredom or escape attempts. (sometimes…)
Ongoing health care can be pricey too. According to moneysmart.gov.au, health care estimates start around $3,000, excluding unexpected problems.
Pet insurance policies are widely available and offer cover from $50 per month.
As with any insurance, choose wisely. Carefully read the policy document checking for:
- Benefits and limits
- Eligibility/age limits
- Pre-existing conditions
- Excess options
- Waiting periods/discounts
Depending on your pet’s circumstances, you might opt to regularly contribute to a dedicated account instead, ensuring there’s money available when needed.
You can help to reduce costs by keeping your pet healthy and happy through diet, exercise, training and play.
What about when you go away? Pet care, while you’re on holiday, is an additional cost. Dog boarding kennels charge from $40 per day (cats about $20). Alternatively, a pet-sitter staying in your home could charge anything from $30 per night.
Pet ownership is a long-term financial obligation, but there’s no denying its rewards. So owning a pet gets a big thumbs up from us, but just don’t expect them to come cheap!
With a pet-ownership of 62%, the majority of Australian households would agree.
Roxy has been with us for ten years and she has certainly bought us many years of laughter and destruction. As mentioned above she is big, she’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback who weighs in at around 45kgs. 45kgs of the softest dog you would ever meet! Back in the days when she was younger and more motivated, she had the ability to completely flatten a garden bed of all living plants within the hours of 8am and 5pm. She used our teak day bed as a toothpick and took a liking to many of our favourite clothes (that once hung on the clothesline) But………she has bought us so much happiness and we can’t imagine our lives without her.
If you have a beloved pet, who is also a bit crazy feel free to share. Really, who doesn’t love a funny story about a pet!
This article is for information purposes only and does not provide advice in any form. It does not take into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs.
Braeside Wealth and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth LTD
ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306