Buying a pet might be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make – but it can also be one of the most expensive. Owning a pet involves expenses like pet insurance, vet visits and much more, which could cause extra pressure if financial trouble hits. Whether it’s a cat, dog or something else, the costs can quickly add up.
Understanding your financial position could help you decide whether you’re ready for a pet, which is why you should look to create a budget that includes the costs of adding a pet to your life. Putting aside money for a furry new member of your family may give you the drive to hit your saving goals, while also preparing you to absorb any unexpected costs that may result from bringing a pet into your life.
The average cost of owning a pet in Australia
Getting a pet is an exciting prospect! However, it could be a costly exercise, especially if you’re not aware of all the different costs that come with bringing a pet into your home. Costs that come with owning a pet (especially dogs and cats) include:
- Food and treats
- Any healthcare the pet may need (vet visits, medication etc.)
- Toys (all pets need plenty of toys)
- Any training the pet may need
- Pet insurance
- Grooming fees
- Boarding/kennelling fees
- Dog walker/dog sitter fees
According to a 2019 Animal Medicines Australia report, in the first year of owning a cat or dog, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000. After that, a dog will cost you $1,627 each year, while a cat will cost you $9621. This number is even higher when you consider ad-hoc costs that may pop up unexpectedly.
The factors you should consider before buying a pet
Now you know about the costs of getting a new pet, it’s important to consider the factors that can help you decide whether you’re ready to go ahead and buy a pet, big or small. Factors that may determine whether you’re truly ready for a pet include:
- How much time you’re willing to commit to a pet
- Whether you’re someone that’s out a lot (socialising or working)
- Whether people you live with will contribute to raising the pet
- Whether your finances are able to handle unexpected pet-related costs
- What space can you create for the pet to live/play
Along with these factors, there are some questions you can ask yourself so you can better understand whether you’re able to buy a pet, or whether it’s worth waiting until your current living/financial situation changes.
Questions to ask yourself before buying a pet
Buying a pet is a big decision for anyone and starting the journey of raising a pet on the right foot could set yourself up for success. However, wanting a pet is just one part of the equation – you also must be able to properly train and raise a furry friend to give them the conditions to thrive. To do this, you need a lot of time, love and money! To work out whether you’re ready to become a pet parent, ask yourself questions like:
- Am I in a financial position to buy a pet?
- Do I have any big expenses coming up soon?
- Am I going to be away from home for any long periods of time in the near future?
- Is my housing situation set up for a pet to live comfortably?
- Am I prepared to train the pet (especially important when getting a dog)?
- What if I need to take the pet to the vet for emergency treatment/other unexpected costs arise?
While this is not an exhaustive list of the questions you should ask yourself before bringing a pet into your life, they could help you get a clearer picture of whether purchasing a furry friend is right for you.
Should you adopt or buy a pet?
If you’re set on getting a new pet, then you’ll need to decide whether you adopt or buy a pet. While buying a pet may ensure you get the breed you’re looking for, it can often be much more expensive. Puppy breeders can often charge thousands for the more popular breeds, while you may also end up on a waitlist if a lot of people are looking to purchase from that breeder.
In contrast, it’s much cheaper to adopt a pet. Animal shelters are always looking to rehome the pets in their care, so their fees are generally much lower when compared to the costs of buying a pet. Adopting a pet could also help reduce the number of animals stuck at animal shelters. Speaking to the Guardian, Kristy Blake, general manager of animal operations for RSPCA New South Wales, revealed that they’ve seen a 20-30% increase in pet surrenders post-lockdown last year2. If you’re in a situation to rehome a pet, then it’s worth considering.
Whether you buy or adopt a pet, ensuring you’re in a financial position to do so is paramount. Looking to put aside money for a pet? If you’re looking to get a pet soon, then you may want to consider opening a Savings Account with us.
Whether you’re looking to earn Qantas Points* or accrue extra interest to get to your goals sooner, there’s a type of Savings Account for everyone. Looking to get a pet further down the track? A high interest Term Deposit could help you put aside money for when it’s time to bring your new best friend home.
Want to learn more about how you could improve your finances when preparing to purchase a pet? Call our team on 1300 747 747.
As the information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
* Qantas Points accrue in accordance with and subject to the Qantas Points Banking Terms and Conditions. You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply, however, Qudos Bank has arranged to provide Qantas Frequent Flyer membership with the joining fee waived to Qudos Bank members who are not already a Qantas Frequent Flyer member and who apply at qantas.com/joinffqudos. Membership and the earning and redemption of Qantas Points are subject to the terms and conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program available online at qantas.com/terms. This offer is non transferable and not available in conjunction with any other offer. Qantas Frequent Flyer membership and each application is subject to approval by Qantas. Qudos Bank recommends that you seek independent tax advice in respect of the tax consequences (including fringe benefits tax, and goods and services tax and income tax) arising from the use of this product or from participating in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program or from using any of the rewards or other available program facilities. Qudos Bank is the issuer, offeror and administrator of the Qantas Points Banking Products and is a credit provider and credit licensee under National Consumer Credit laws.
Before opening an account with us, you should read our Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services, Supplementary Terms and Conditions for Term Deposits and Financial Services Guide.
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.
 Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people (https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ANIM001-Pet-Survey-Report19_v1.7_WEB_high-res.pdf)
 No puppy love: post-lockdown lifestyles and cost of living are driving Australians to surrender their pets | Australia news | The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/20/no-puppy-love-post-lockdown-lifestyles-and-cost-of-living-are-driving-australians-to-surrender-their-pets}
Published December 2022