Hidden costs of pet ownership

Will your new four-legged friend cost you an arm and a leg?

You can’t put a price on the love, affection and companionship that come with a four-legged friend but, as any pet owner will tell you, they can be draining on the hip pocket. 

Like any other major purchasing decision, getting a pet is something that should be considered within the context of the total household budget. 

The initial outlay can be high, with Aussie pet owners expected to fork out between $3000 and $6000 in the first year, according to ASIC’s MoneySmart

Then there are the ongoing costs. ASIC’s MoneySmart revealed the average annual cost of ownership for a dog is $1627 and $962 for a cat.

These costs can include:

Training, boarding, grooming

Obedience training, boarding kennel fees and grooming costs can quickly add up, especially if you’re away from home often or choose a pet with a long and luxurious coat. 

Despite the outlay, these expenses can be essential to ensuring your pet is happy and healthy.


There are more options than ever for pet-parents who want to spoil their fur baby.

Some products, such as kitty litter and leashes, are essential while others, like designer doggie beds, are more nice-to-haves.

Regardless, the costs add up and you may find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on pet accessories over the course of a year. 

Vet expenses

Routine care such as vaccinations and annual health checks will mean at least one visit to the vet each year. Pet insurance can help owners prepare for any accidents or unexpected health issues Fido or Mittens may experience.

Health treatments

Keeping your pet safe from ticks, worms and fleas is important, especially in Queensland.

Depending on the breed and size, dog owners can expect to pay $500-$600 per year for preventative treatments.

This is a small price to pay compared to the vet costs of treating heartworms or paralysis ticks, not to mention safeguarding the wellbeing of your animal.


Food will be one of the biggest ongoing expenses, with dog owners expected to pay more than $600 on food alone according to ASIC’s MoneySmart.

This can increase dramatically if you have a large dog or your pet requires a special diet.

Tips to save money as a pet owner:

  1. Adopt your pet from a shelter.
  2. Groom and bathe your pet yourself. 
  3. Look at different food options and take advantage of specials.
  4. Consider pet insurance.
  5. Leave your pet with family or friends when you go on holidays.
  6. Shop around for pet accessories.

AWLQ and RACQ are proudly working together to help Queensland pets. RACQ is offering pet owners three months free pet insurance when they either adopt an eligible pet from AWLQ or are a customer of an AWLQ vet clinic.