Animal Medicines Australia’s new Pets and the Pandemic report showed cat and dog owners are spending thousands on their pets each year, averaging around $3200 per dog and $2100 per cat.
The report said Australian dog owners have cumulatively spent $20.5 billion last year, while cat owners have spent $10.2 billion.
Food is the largest expense for pets, followed by health-related items.
Supermarkets are the most popular place to buy pet food, while owners tended to buy healthcare products for their pets from vets.
Vets also remain the top source of information for pet-related issues.
On average, pets have been taken to the vet twice since the onset of the pandemic (more frequently for dogs, at 2.5 times), with vaccinations and general check-ups being the most common reasons for a visit to the vet.
Despite this, one in five pet owners hasn’t visited the vet in the past two years.
The survey found the top reasons were cost, owners feeling they already knew what to do, and owners going online to resolve any issues.
Animal Medicines Australia Executive Director Ben Stapley said it was important owners took their pets to the vet for regular check-ups during the pandemic.
“A strong and ongoing relationship with a veterinarian improves the level of care throughout the life of each pet,” Mr Stapley said.
“We encourage all pet owners to make sure that their veterinarian is their first point of contact when it comes to food and health products.
“Professional advice will help owners provide the best diet, healthcare and welfare for their pets.”
The report also found pet numbers have exploded across the country, with 69% of households now having a pet, significantly higher than 61% only two years ago.
There has been a surge in dog ownership, with more than a million additional dogs brought into Australian households since 2019.
Mr Stapley said the study by Newgate Research provided important information on pets and their owners.
“Learning more about the habits of pet owners can help us and the industry figure out ways of reducing barriers to pet ownership and enabling more Australians to experience the joy and comfort pets bring to our lives,” he said.
Animal Medicines Australia is the peak body representing leading animal health companies in Australia.
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