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Costs of Pets & Sensationalism

September 30, 2011

A pet related article caught my eye today[see notes]. According to a business information analyst group, IBISWorld – Australian population spends a lot on their pets. The pet industry generated revenue of $7.88 billion in the 2010-2011 period.

Some other interesting facts are:

  • 10 million people are pet owners
  • 63% of households have pets
  • Average household spending for their pets is $1460 per year

I scoured the news section of google for all the articles to see if any extra information was provided from the research. Because the original data has to be paid for and it looks like all news sites used the same basic press release there wasn’t much else available.

All the news articles tried to sensationalize the dollar figures to make Australian owners appear barking mad. $7.88 billion figure does sound high from basic reading, but the $1460 cost per year is actually not that sensational.

I believe that if I had my paws on the original data, I could have easily produced  much more eye-popping and hole-in-the-pocket-burning figures by filtering the data the right way.

You see, from what I gathered with the scraps of information the pet industry includes ALL pets. That means it’s not just dogs and cats, it’s fish, reptiles and probably hermit crabs. Unless there are people giving their crabs diamond encrusted shells I bet the cost of keeping them would be in the order of pocket change. That would skew the data to the lower end.

As an owner of two small-breed dogs, I can see how easily the $1460 could be achieved. Unfortunately I haven’t kept a running cost of providing for our ‘furkids’, but from memory vet bills easily add up (they are part of the $7.88 billion). As an example de-sexing Cookie and post operation costs were about $200+. Emergency visit to the after-hours pet hospital when Cookie had seizures was nearly $300. Standard vet visits can be minimal $100 per year per pet for vaccinations, medication etc. Thankfully emergency vet visits are rare, but some operations can start from 1K+ if required. My parents’ Pomeranian, a number of years ago was struck with a paralysis tick requiring life saving operations that came close to a whopping figure of nearly 5K. Increase the size of the dogs and costs sky rocket.

We try not to spend like drunken sailors on our pets, but because we love our dogs and wish the best for them, we try to provide as best as we can, which means they do cost money. But so far we have forgone the dog massages & dog acupuncture sessions followed by a serving of a tall glass of puppychino (yes, all these are real services available in Sydney, google it)

I would predict that if the filter was applied to show only dogs and cats, the cost per household would be twice if not three times as high. Some people do cough-up too much while others are just unlucky to have a sick four-legged companion.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Alen permalink
    September 30, 2011 11:18 pm

    I couldn’t stop laughing at the diamond encrusted shells comment!

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