Before you bring your furry friend home, make sure they'll suit your budget and lifestyle.
See how much it costs to have a cat or dog. Find out how to get the right pet for you and save money on pet costs.
Cost of owning a pet
Cats and dogs are a big personal and financial commitment.
In the first year, a cat or dog will cost you between $3,000 and $6,000. After your first year, expect to pay up to:
- $3,218 each year for a dog
- $1,715 each year for a cat
(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 expensive. Add it into your budget and consider whether pet insurance is right for you.
Consider all the costs of owning a pet:
Adopting or buying a pet
Microchipping, vaccinations and de-sexing
Pet healthcare products, such as flea, tick and worming medications
Pet essentials such as a collar, bed, bowls, toys, kennel or scratching post
Boarding kennels and catteries
Other services including grooming and training
Work out what you can afford
When you're thinking about getting a pet, look at the costs over your pet's lifetime.
Add up the yearly costs of having a pet to see whether you can afford it.
Save for unexpected costs
Consider more than just everyday pet expenses. If your pet gets sick or injured, costs for care could add up fast. To be prepared in case something happens, save for an emergency fund.
Find the right pet for you
Take the time to find a pet that suits your lifestyle and budget.
Research breeds before choosing a new pet. Different breeds have varying temperaments and needs. For example:
- A breed with long hair will cost you more in grooming.
- A larger dog will cost more to feed.
- Some breeds are prone to health problems that will cost you more in vet bills.
Consider where you live
If you work long hours, a breed that gets anxious might not be happy. If you live in a small space, that may not work for one that needs lots of exercise. If your pet gets stressed, they may:
- cause damage to your place
- cost you more in dog-sitting
- cause noise problems with your landlord or neighbours
Get a pet from a shelter
Not only can you give them a home, a pet from a shelter will already be de-sexed, wormed and vaccinated.
Getting a pet from a shelter is cheaper than going to a breeder or pet shop. You may also save on local council registration fees.
Save money on pet expenses
Here's how to cut costs while keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Keep your pet healthy
Regular exercise, a good diet and dental care are vital to your pet's health and wellbeing. These things will also save on vet bills.
Speak to your vet early if you notice a problem with your pet. This could prevent it from turning into something more serious.
Manage vet costs
Getting regular check-ups helps to stay on top of your pet's health. But costs can add up. If you're on a tight budget, be upfront about what you can afford. Ask your vet about payment options.
Consider lower-cost vet telehealth services instead of an in-person vet visit.
Buy in bulk, on sale or second hand
If you can afford to, it is often cheaper to buy food in bulk. Look for sales on food or other items you need. Check for loyalty discounts if you buy from the same store.
Check online marketplaces when making larger purchases such as a cat carrier or dog bed.
If you can't take your pet 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.
DIY grooming and training
Wash your dog yourself. Look at online videos to learn how to trim their fur and nails. They won't mind if their haircut's not perfect, and you'll save on grooming costs.
Try your hand at training your dog by researching online or joining a free class.
Make your own toys and treats
Look online to see how to make pet toys and pet treats. Try making things for your pet from items you already have.
For example, peanut butter treats and an old blanket to tug-o-war for a dog. Or for a cat, chicken treats and an odd sock stuffed with paper to play with.