Report finds Aussies’ love for their pets skyrockets 

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Australian pet lovers
Photography by Eugene Hyland

Australia’s pet population is not the only thing to have boomed during the pandemic; our love for our pets has skyrocketed with four out of 10 owners preferring that their pet—rather than their partner—sleeps next to them, PETstock’s 2022 Pet Parent Report has found. 

With more Aussie pets than people—over 30.4 million—it’s no surprise that furry, feathery and scaly pet parents across the country take the health and wellbeing of their pets very seriously. 

A new survey of almost 1600 Australian pet owners confirms that more people believe their pets should be valued at least as highly as other humans. 

Some key findings of the PETstock 2022 Pet Parent Report reveal that dogs are still the most popular type of pet, and the emotional connection one of the strongest experiences dog owners share, with a whopping 96 per cent believing their dog can mend a broken heart and sense when they are out of sorts. 

“Pets provide us with comfort, companionship and a sense of security. This has been especially important for many pet parents during the pandemic,” animal behaviourist Dr Kate Mornement said.  

Almost half of pet owners are more content to have a pet than children and the number of respondents who take their pets out in a pram, backpack or on their bike is growing.

Pet parents with children strongly believe that pets model good values and behaviour to their kids, and 57 per cent of all pet parents include their “fur kids” in family portraits or Christmas photos. 

More Aussies are adopting pets with 44 per cent owning a rescue pet, the report found. 

“The rate of animal adoptions increased dramatically during the pandemic, which is great news for rescue pets,” Dr Mornement said.

Even workplaces are increasingly pressured to allow ‘pawternity leave’ when pets need care. 

The new data also finds that many pets are being fed supplements rather than scraps and almost four out of 10 pet owners cook for their pet, particularly their dog. 

When it comes to pet safety, the survey reveals Australians are highly responsible pet owners with 95 per cent of pets microchipped and a similar number of homes pet-proofed. 

Roughly 40 per cent leave the TV or radio on to calm pets left home alone, and using smart devices or even specialised streaming—like DOGTV—is also common. 

And when it comes to money, Australians follow through on their love of ‘all creatures great and small’, spending an average of $1801 per year on their beloved animal. 

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