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Another cost that is often overlooked in the early stages of pet ownership is pet boarding. “If there’s no one to pet sit, and you want to go away, this can be quite costly.”

Pet insurance can save you a lot of strife

“I strongly recommend people get pet insurance when they first get their pets,” says Cattenazzi. If you get it when your pet is older, it won’t cover any pre-existing issues – so the earlier, the better.

Pet insurance generally covers unexpected accidents and illnesses, including surgeries and hospital costs. Of course, whether you choose to get pet insurance depends on your personal circumstances.

The Pets in Australia 2022 report found that people getting dog insurance is down, from 30 per cent in 2019 to 17 per cent in 2022.


The same goes for insurance for cats, falling from 21 per cent to 12 per cent in the same period. This could be attributed to increased cost of living, as well as how much more it is to buy a pet since the pandemic.

According to Compare The Market, pet insurance can cost between $25 to $80 a month depending on the kind of pet, its age, breed and health status. Pet medications are not in any way subsidised by the government, but insurance policies will usually offer some benefit on these.

Insurance can cover a lot, but setting up an additional emergency fund isn’t a bad idea. “It’s up to the owner how much they can afford, but even setting aside $50 a month is good.”

Consider adopting a pet

“There isn’t really a way to own a pet on a budget, but adopting could be a good option for those looking to save on initial costs,” Cattenazzi says.

Pet insurance generally covers unexpected accidents and illnesses, including surgeries and hospital costs.

Pet insurance generally covers unexpected accidents and illnesses, including surgeries and hospital costs.Credit: iStock

“Pets from shelters will usually already come with a lot of vet work already done. They’ve usually got their vaccinations and are up-to-date with their worming.”

You’ll pay an adoption fee, but in most cases this is nowhere near as high as paying for a pet from a breeder. “It’s a really lovely way to give an animal in need a home.”

Prioritise your pet’s healthcare


Ensuring pets are up-to-date with healthcare, including vaccination and worming, assists in preventing diseases. “Yes, it’s an upfront cost, but if you’re preventing them from getting unwell, which will also keep costs down in the long run.”

If after you’ve crunched the numbers you’re moving ahead with getting a pet, congratulations.

A final hot tip is to set up a separate account from the get-go, so you know roughly how much you can expect to pay annually.

Caterina Hrysomallis is a journalist specialising in culture, lifestyle and health.

  • Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.

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