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Getting a pet

How much it costs to own a dog or cat

Page reading time: 2 minutes

Before you bring your furry friend home, make sure they'll suit your budget and lifestyle.

Find out how much it costs to have a cat or dog, how to choose the right breed and how you can pamper them on a budget.

Cost of owning a pet

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:

(Source: Pets in Australia report, Animal Medicines Australia)

On top of this, you'll need to pay for vet bills if your pet gets sick or injured. This 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. Can be between $25 to $50 a night

Other services including grooming and training

  • depends on your lifestyle and type of pet

Work out what you can afford

When you're thinking about getting a pet, consider all of the costs over the life of your pet.

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:

Consider where you live

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

Get a pet from a shelter

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

Getting a pet from a shelter is cheaper than getting one from 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.