CommBank research revealed that among all generations, millennials spend the most on their pets, at a monthly average of $357. 

The study, conducted by YouGov, also found Gen X as the second top pet spender, with $282 allocated to pet care. Gen Z are willing to shell out $257 for their dogs and cats, while baby boomers fork over $173 per month. 

On average, pet owners spend around 10% of their monthly take-home income on their pets. 

“Ninety per cent of pet owners see their pets as fully-fledged family members, so it’s not surprising they spend so much time and money on them,” said Vanessa Rowe, CBA general manager of insurance partnerships.

Senior pet owners willing to go the extremes 

More than a quarter of senior pet owners admitted to spending more money on their furry companions than their children or grandchildren. 

Australian Seniors’ For the Love of Pets report showed that 10% of pet owners over 50 are willing to spend more than $10,000 for their beloved companions should the need, such as urgent medical attention, arise. 

According to PetSure claims data from 2016 to today, one in five pets can cost upwards of $50,000 in lifetime healthcare. 

To cover their pets’ emergency expenses, the majority of seniors dip into their savings, while 37% turn to credit cards, and 25% rely on pet insurance. 

Even in times of financial hardship, the survey showed 20% of senior pet owners resort to borrowing money from family and friends, and an even vast majority (76%) are willing to make serious spending or saving sacrifices to foot their pets’ medical bills. 

Many cut back on leisure and shopping, others forgo holiday trips, and almost a quarter of seniors go as far as reducing the inheritance left to children and grandchildren for the sake of their pets. 

Aside from reducing their savings, the study also found at least one in 10 seniors has included their pets in their will, while almost a third are planning to do so or have discussed it with their families. 

Pet owners urged to get insurance

Despite the established bond owners have for their pets, only 28% have turned their love to tangible security, as in a pet insurance policy. 

Pet owners can reimburse claims for certain health conditions under a pet insurance policy, thereby preventing the cost of pet care from further stretching their household budget.

“Similar to human health, regular check-ups and monitoring can save money down the line, and sometimes save your pet’s life,” VetChat founder and CEO Dr Claire Jenkins said. 

“Often problems start small – and are less costly to treat – but become expensive and potentially life-threatening when left undetected or untreated.”

Some of the most common health conditions in dogs can set pet owners back a couple of thousand dollars per treatment. According to data from PetSure, treating skin allergies can cost as much as $17,460, and ear infections by as much as $16,670. 

“Pets are beloved family members, and we are fortunate to have access to world-class veterinary treatment in Australia to help us take care of them,” PetSure chief insurance officer Joni Hudson said.

Photo by Manuel Meza on Unsplash