Some Basic Facts

Pet ownership statistics

Australia has one of the highest incidence of pet ownership in the world.
  • approximately 13.1 million Australians are associated with pets
  • an estimated 63% of Australia’s 6.6 million households own some kind of pet
  • 53% own a cat or a dog
  • there are over 38 million pets of various species throughout Australia
  • in 2007, 37.1 million pets were owned throughout Australia, including:
  • 3.7 million dogs
  • 2.2 million cats
  • approximately 20 million fish
  • 7.8 million birds
  • around 3 million other pets including horses, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals
  • in the Australian Capital Territory more than 65% of households own a pet and more than 80% of people have reported they have or will own  a pet in their lifetime.
Pets and the over 60s

As baby boomers move through their 60s, the trend of downsizing will continue with more people adopting apartment living.  Are these people to give up their pets at a time in their life when they may need them the most?  Not to mention the stress on the pet (who in these circumstances may not end up in another loving home).

Urban growth

With increasing urban growth and emphasis on affordable housing, the issue of pet ownership becomes an important one to address and remedy.

Value of real estate

An August 2009 article in Domain states “dogs and cats – also known as fur kids - are changing what we look for in a property and even a suburb.  While it might seem over the top for Paris Hilton to hire an exterior designer to craft a luxury doghouse for her fur kids, more Australians are preferring to pamper their pets.  In fact, with the rise in single-person households, pets will become an even larger influence in the type of property we look for and the amenity of the suburb around us.  Leash-free parks, cafes that serve Pupaccinos and well-planned pet-friendly apartment developments are set to become tres desirable.”

The article quotes Bernard Salt “Humans have a whole lot of love to give, and if they don’t have kids, they give it to their pets”, says demographer Bernard Salt, who says the importance of pets is only going to grow in the next decade.”

“For now, people might laugh and just think it’s the gays or the very rich that treat their animals like children, but by the 2020s it will hit the middle market in a high way,” he says, pointing out that ageing households of single people will adopt animals for companionship and personal security, challenging local governments, legislators and urban planners to adapt quickly or lose a powerful political constituency.”

Many breeds of dogs are suited to apartment living

These breeds include Maltese, Cavalier, King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Poodles, Jack Russells and Terriers.

Some misconceptions

  • only small dogs are suited for apartments (when in fact dogs like Great Danes and Wolfhounds who need far less exercise than some other smaller dogs are better suited than small dogs)
  • dogs over 10 kg should be prohibited
  • dogs and cats should be banned because they cause allergies
  • it is not fair to keep dogs like greyhounds or great danes in strata buildings