Pet ownership statistics

In 2013 there were estimated to be more than 25 million pets in Australia, with nearly 5 million of Australia's 7.6 million households home to pets. At 63%, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.

Dogs are the most common pet, with 39% of households owning a dog. There are estimated to be 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia; 19 dogs for every 100 people.

Cats are the second most common pet, with 29% of households owning a cat. There are estimated to be 3.3 million pet cats in Australia; 15 cats for every 100 people.

Fish are the most numerous pet type, with a total population of 10.7 million. The number of birds is estimated to be 4.8 million, with a further 2.2 million other pets including small mammals and reptiles.

Almost half (48%) of all Australians would like to either get a pet or get another pet. More than 1.1 million Australian households (14.9%) were planning to get a companion animals in 2013.


Companionship is the driving reason behind pet ownership, with seven out of ten Australians citing it as the main reason for getting a dog or cat.

Most pet owners consider their pets to be members of the family, and this has a powerful impact on how people look after the animals in their care, as well as their buying behaviour.

Pet food has been compared to baby food in terms of its resilient market performance, with people prioritising spending on their pets as they would a member of their immediate family.

The popularity of premium dog and cat food and single serve portions has increased in recent years.

Advances in healthcare products for animals have enabled people to keep their pets free of fleas, ticks and internal parasites. Over recent decades this has seen the domain of dogs and cats move from from outside to inside. Today, 92% of cats and 76% of dogs are kept either exclusively or partly indoors.

Microchipping and desexing rates are relatively high in Australia, with 78% of dogs and 91% of cats desexed, and 76% of dogs and 64% of cats microchipped.

Market value

The pet care industry in Australia is estimated to be worth $8.0 billion annually.

The biggest area of expenditure, across all pet types, is food at an estimated $3.0 billion a year. The next biggest area of expenditure is veterinary services, followed by other pet care services.

The majority of expenditure is on dogs, at around $4.7 billion. Expenditure on cats totals $2.4 billion.

(Data from 2013 Animal Health Alliance publication, Pet ownership in Australia).

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