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How Much Does It Cost To Own A Pet In Melbourne?

This number varies depending on whether or not you have more than one pet and what kind of animal it is.

Cats, for example, cost around $1,500 each, whereas dogs range between $2,700-$5,000 before they reach the age of two. However, many benefits to owning a pet make this expense worth it!

Animal Medicine Australia's latest survey on "Pets in Australia" found that pet ownership in Australia is at an all-time high with 29 million pets in Australia and one of the highest rates of household pet ownership globally.

Dogs are the most popular type of pet, with around 40% of Australian households including at least one dog. It is followed by cats (27%), fish (11%), birds (9%), small mammals (3%) and reptiles (2%).

While 62% of all pet-free Australian households are interested in the idea of getting a pet, one of the greatest factors to influence their decision is the pet's ongoing costs.

We are estimated to be spending over $13 billion on food, health, accessories, and veterinary services, accounting for half of all ongoing expenditures.

While $13 billion may seem like a lot, we've broken down the costs associated with owning a pet in Australia.

FAQs About Cost To Own A Pet In Melbourne

Most people can count on around $500 in total expenses to adopt a dog or cat, get supplies, and cover initial medical costs. But, you should budget around $500 per year in most cases for ongoing costs. Those costs vary based on the size of your pet, brands you prefer, and assuming your pet is generally healthy.

The adoption fee for each cat is dependent on many factors, including age, behaviour, medical condition, and demand. Adoption fees range from $15 to $200 for cats (1-7 years old) and $100 to $200 for kittens (2-11 months old).

If you buy your cat from a breeder, they'll probably cost between $500 and $1,000, but the cost may be higher if you purchase one of the most expensive breeds.

To be exact, they can reduce the risk of diabetes and lower your cholesterol. Furthermore, dogs are very loyal and will always stick beside you. In addition, studies have shown that dogs have lowered depression, stress, loneliness, self-esteem issues, and many more on people and families who own a dog.

If you're looking to buy a pup yourself, you might, quite understandably, be put off by the massive price tag that pups are carrying these days. These are commercial dog breeding facilities where dogs are quickly and often in poor conditions.

The Cost Of Owning A Pet

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With three in five Australian households owning a pet, it's safe to say that we love our animal friends. We often treat them as part of the family.

While our pets are tugging at our heartstrings, they're also pulling on the purse strings. According to Animal Medicines Australia, Australians spent more than $12.2 billion on pet products and services in 2016. So, what does it cost to keep your pet happy and healthy?

Cats and dogs are a big personal and financial commitment. In the first year alone, a cat or dog will cost you between $3,000 and $6,000. 

After your first year together, expect to pay at least:

  • $1,627 each year for a dog
  • $962 each year for a cat

On top of this, you'll need to pay for vet bills if your pet gets sick or injured. It can be very expensive. Factor it into your budget and consider whether pet insurance is right for you.

Make sure you consider all the costs of owning a pet:

  • Adopting or buying a pet: from $0 to $500 if you adopt, depending on the type of animal and its age; $500 to a few thousand dollars if you buy from a breeder
  • Microchipping, vaccinations and de-sexing: up to $1,000 in the first year, or free if you adopt
  • Vet expenses: about $450 each year depending on your pet's health
  • Pet insurance: $20 to $60 each month
  • Pet essentials including a collar, bed, bowls and toys, kennel or scratching post: up to $500 in the first year, then about $100 each year
  • Flea, tick and worming medications: $300 to $450 each year depending on your pet's size
  • Council registration: between $30 and $190 per year
  • Pet food: up to $800 each year for premium dog food, plus treats
  • Boarding kennels and catteries: depends on location, time of year and length of stay. It can be between $25 to $50 a night.
  • Other services, including grooming and training: depends on your lifestyle and type of pet.

Acquiring A Pet

In 2019, pet owners paid significantly more for their dog or cat in the last three years.

Since 2016 there has also been a significant increase in dog owners who have paid more than $1000 for their pet and cat owners who have paid more than $500 for their pet.

In 2019 the average acquisition costs included:

  • Dogs cost an average of $548 to $627
  • Cats cost an average of $274 to $308.
  • In the last 12 months, fish have cost an average of $150
  • In the last 12 months, birds have cost an average of $293

Ongoing Expenditure

The money spent on our pets is now estimated to be more than $13 billion per year.

For prospective pet owners, the ongoing expenses associated with pet ownership can include:

  • Food
  • Veterinary services
  • Pet healthcare products
  • Products or accessories 
  • Pet insurance (dogs and cats only)
  • Clipping/grooming (dogs and cats only)
  • Boarding/minding (dogs and cats only)
  • Training/behaviour/therapy (dogs and cats only)
  • Alternative healthcare treatments
  • Transport
  • Competitions/memberships
  • Walking (dogs only)
  • Pet food

It's estimated that pet owners are spending more than $3.9 billion on food each year. 57% of all pet food spent is on dog food, followed by 32% on cat food. Together this pet food spend is valued at an estimated $3.6 billion. 

Most pet owners, including 60% of dog owners and 70% of cat owners, continue to source most of their pet food from the supermarket. 

Other sources of food can include: 

  • Pet shop/Pet specialty store
  • Human food/leftovers
  • Butcher
  • Making food at home
  • Vet
  • The internet/online
  • Collecting food from the wild
  • Other
  • Products and accessories

The Australian market for pet products and accessories has now reached an estimated $1.2 billion each year!

More than $600 million has been spent on dogs, while another $250 million has been spent on cats. Typically, pet owners spend money on food bowls, bedding, leads, litter trays, toys, and clothing.

Places you can source pet products and accessories include:

  • Pet shop/Pet specialty stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Retail stores
  • The internet/online
  • Vets
  • Pharmacies

While pet shops and supermarkets remain important pet products and accessories sources, around 19% of pet owners chose retail stores like Kmart and The Reject Shop as their primary outlets.

Pet Services

In the last three years, the cost of pet insurance has overtaken the average annual household spend for clipping/grooming, boarding/mind, and training/behavioural therapy.

While most (48%) pet owners would turn to their family if they needed someone to look after their pet, pet owners who live in urban or inner-city areas are more likely to use a pet sitting service.

17% of prospective non-owners also consider the costs of boarding services to be one of the factors influencing their prospective pet ownership choice.

Veterinarian Expenses

After food, veterinary services account for the second-largest category of ongoing expenses, with an estimated $2.6 billion a year being spent on the health of our pets.

Any additional spending on veterinary services has likely been driven by an increase in the pet dog population since 2016, the proportion of dogs visiting the vet has increased (from 79% to 84%), and among those dogs, the annual vet bill has increased from an average of $479 to $546.

In the last year, 84% of dog owners, 68% of cat owners, 13% of fish owners and 27% of bird owners have taken their pet to the vet, with dog and cat owners visiting multiple times a year.

Reasons for visiting the vet may include:

  • Check-up
  • Vaccination
  • Illness or injury
  • Dentistry
  • De-sexing
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and laboratory tests
  • X-ray and imaging services

Hospital In-Patient Care

Reasons for visiting the vet have remained largely consistent over the past three years, with check-ups and vaccinations being the most popular reasons to visit the vet.

Healthcare Products

Pet healthcare products (flea prevention, worming prevention, tick prevention and dietary supplements) represent an estimated spend of $1.4 billion in 2019.

There has been no significant change in where pet healthcare products are bought, with pet shops and specialty stores remaining the most popular places to buy. Pet healthcare products are also bought from supermarkets, vets, and general retail stores.


In the past three years, the number of dogs de-sexed in 2016 (77%) has increased by 4% (81%). While the number of cats to have been de-sexed has remained the same (89%).

In some states, it's compulsory to de-sex an animal before it is sold or given away. For example, it is applicable for cats in WA and cats and dogs in SA and ACT. While in other states, including QLD, NSW and Vic, pet-owners are encouraged to de-sex their pets. Some areas also offer discounted registration if a pet has been de-sexed.

There are health and behavioural benefits, but cost benefits are associated with getting your pet de-sexed.

De-sexing reduces the community costs associated with caring and re-homing unwanted animals; the cost of getting your pet de-sexed is small compared to caring for offspring, and there are lower ongoing costs for animals overall.


Microchipping is mandated in most states and territories across local government areas and is usually required to register your pet. Microchipping rates have remained steady from 2016 for both dogs and cats overall.

You should seek specific rules, regulations and up-to-date information from relevant state, territory, or local government authorities.

Pet Insurance

The pet insurance costs can vary significantly, depending on your furry friend's age, breed, size, and health. However, one cost that is almost always extreme is an unexpected vet bill.

An unforeseen trip to the vet can easily come to thousands of dollars if scans (like x-rays) are involved. Without pet insurance, you're liable for the whole lot. Whereas if your pet insurance covers the event, you'll normally only pay an excess and a small percentage of the total fees.

Find The Right Pet For You

Take the time to find a pet that suits your lifestyle and budget.

Breed Matters

Research breeds before choosing a new pet. Different breeds can have different temperaments and needs. For example:

  • A breed with long hair will cost you more in grooming.
  • A larger dog will eat more.
  • Some breeds are prone to health problems that cost you more vet bills.

Consider Where You Live

If you live in a small apartment or work long hours, a breed that gets anxious or needs lots of exercises might not be happy. It may also:

  • cause damage to your place
  • cost you more in dog-sitting
  • cause problems with your landlord or neighbours

Get A Pet From A Shelter

Not only can you save an animal that needs a home, but it will also already be de-sexed, wormed and vaccinated.

Getting a pet from a shelter is cheaper than breeders or pet shops. You may also save on local council registration fees.

Look After Your Pet On A Budget

There are simple ways to cut the cost of pet ownership while keeping your pet happy and healthy.


Regular exercise, a good diet and dental care are vital to your pet's health and happiness. It will also save you a lot in vet bills.


If you can't take your furry friend with you, ask a friend to pet-sit in your home. It's cheaper than a kennel or cattery and more comfortable for your pet.


Wash your dog yourself and learn how to trim its fur and nails. They won't mind if you give them a bad haircut, and you'll save on grooming costs.


Do some research or join a free class and have fun training your dog.

How To Save Money On The Cost Of Owning A Pet

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From DIY treats to seeking out discounted toys and training programs, we wanted to round up some simple ways to save money as a pet owner. With some thinking ahead and creativity, you won't have to jeopardise your budget to enjoy taking care of an animal companion. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for saving on pet costs, which is a serious, long-term financial commitment. We'll help you provide your pet with the love and care they deserve with our tips.

Be Your Pet's Trainer

Have you ever considered training your pet on your own? Try to cut back on certain extraneous costs like a professional trainer and see if you can redirect that cash towards a course that will help you master pet training skills. You'll save in the long run and boost your skillset while you're at it.

Shop Around For Better Pet Food

So many pet owners mindlessly overpay for pet food. It's time to be more mindful by couponing and shopping around. You could save hundreds in just several months.

Buy In Bulk And Store Properly

Buying pet food and other items in bulk is a great way to save money. One caveat is that if you don't store things properly, they may go bad sooner, which will increase your costs.

Shop Around For Pet Insurance

Getting more comprehensive care at a fair price is not only better for your budget, but it's also better for your pet's health. Try a price comparison tool like to find the best rates.

Don't Overpay For Pet Medication.

There are plenty of resources and websites to help you save on your pet's medication. You can find great price points, coupons, and rebates on sites. Also, there may be locally owned pet shops or regular pharmacies in your area that carry the medication you need for your pet for less. So invest the extra time in researching these options and reap the rewards.

Keep Your Pet Fit And Healthy

The healthier your pet is, the happier they'll be and the more you'll save in the long run. Taking preventative measures to allow fewer vet visits is always the right move. Even if your pet is a bit older, be sure to make an effort to ensure they're getting enough movement in their day. Try creative ways to help them get some exercise, like setting up a fun obstacle course in your living room or backyard.

Strategically Plan Your Pet's Vaccination Schedule

Did you know you could save money if you're smart about how you stay updated on your pet's vaccination schedule? There could be mobile vet clinics, sometimes run by highly trained veterinary students depending on your region. These clinics often offer vaccines and other veterinary services at a decreased cost. Regardless of your choice, be sure to talk to your vet to make sure you're not behind in getting your pet's vaccines.

Spay Or Neuter Your Pet Asap

Spaying or neutering your pet should be a no brainer to help your pet budget. You can save a large amount of money in the long run, considering the potential costs associated with a non-altered pet.

Don't Neglect Dental Care.

Neglecting your teeth can lead to extremely high dental care costs. Tools, toothpaste, or chewables are suggested for maintaining the health of any pet. Although you may be reluctant to spend the money on these products at first, you could end up saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you avoid having to get expensive emergency dental work.

Find Affordable Boarding Options

Finding a place to board the pet you trust and have fair prices can struggle. Thankfully, with some research and shopping around, you can find something that fits your needs. Or, why not exchange favours with a family member or friend who can watch them for free?

Find A Reasonably Priced Groomer

Have you been going to the same overpriced groomer for years simply because it's the most convenient? Then, you're probably long overdue for a change. Ask friends who they use — or better yet, invest in a grooming kit and learn how to do it yourself.

Cut Back On Hiring Pet Sitters/Walkers

Whether changing your schedule around, waking up earlier, or trading off pet duties with family and friends, there are ways to cut back on spending in this area. Plan and your wallet will thank you.

Rely Less On Pet Daycare

You might think that a pet daycare centre is ideal for your pet to interact with other animals, but you can save an astronomical amount by socialising your pet yourself. For example, if you have a puppy, try to get to the dog park more often and cut down on the days spent at doggy daycare.

Rearrange Your Space For Pet-Proofing

Don't fall for the marketing ploys of pet-specific enclosures that you could easily accomplish by moving around some furniture. Instead, save on expensive pet fences by getting creative. Also, you can probably utilise items like plastic bins to serve as natural barriers for certain areas.

Create Your Own Pet Beds And Furniture

In the same way that you can get crafty to pet-proof your home, you can also make cozy spaces for your pet with some easy DIY projects. One popular example is flipping over an end table or chair and repurposing it into a pet bed. It's incredible when you do the math to see how much you can save on overpriced pet-specific pieces.

Make Your Own Pet Clothing

Have you ever considered making your pet's clothes yourself, though? For example, there are many ways to repurpose a tee shirt into an adorable outfit for a dog or cat. Even if you're not talented at sewing, it's a fun activity to try, and you can customise your creations perfectly to your animal companion's preferences.

Join Pet Store Loyalty Clubs

The pet store you frequent most likely has a loyalty programme, and you may not even know it. Whether you prefer brick-and-mortar stores or the convenience of online shopping, it pays to be informed about the best ways to save money.

Use A Price Comparison Tool For Pet Supplies

Have you ever used price comparison tools for pet supplies? You probably already know about these apps and sites for other items in your budget, but be sure not to neglect using them for pet care expenses, too.

Create Your Own Pet Toys

Show your creative side and use simple household items to make fun toys for your pet. You can skip the flashy accessories at the pet boutique (although they're hard to resist!)


Make Diy Pet Treats

Skip the expensive gourmet treats with the cringe-worthy price tag. Instead, your pet will be healthier and happier with simple DIY treats. There are tons of free recipes online that you can experiment with, as long as you use safe ingredients. Plus, this is great if your pet has a sensitive stomach — you'll know what to add to and remove from the recipe.

Seasonally Prep Your Pet

Another way to help your pet (and your wallet) is to avoid the negative consequences of not preparing your pet for different seasons. Whether it's the holidays or the heat of summer, there are ways to seasonally prep your pet to be safe and comfortable under different circumstances. Plus, you'll avoid costly, stressful vet visits.

Invest In Pet Safety

When choosing how to invest in your pet, be sure safety is the number one priority. Spending more upfront for something like a smart collar that will last your pet's lifetime (and give you peace of mind) is worth every penny.

Proactively Check In With Your Vet

Did you know that an estimated one in three American pets will need emergency veterinary treatment every year? With steep costs for emergency vet visits, it's wise to schedule regular check-ups to avoid urgent care. But, of course, this is better for your pet's health, too!

No matter what type of pet you have, there are ways to save and be smart with your spending.


Being a pet owner is one of the most fun and rewarding roles. Your life wouldn't be the same without them, but there's no doubt that pets can get pricey. 

Instead of falling into the trap of overpaying for fancy pet gadgets, understand that you can still provide the best possible care without breaking the bank. 

If you're thinking about becoming a pet owner, maybe consider a budget-friendly animal companion that is more affordable than a cat or dog. 

With a little extra planning and some creativity, you'll be able to support your pet while putting your hard-earned cash where you need it most. 

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