Think humans are the only creatures supporting the Australian economy? Well let us not be so smug. Our four-legged pals are pulling their weight in no mean way, by eating, sleeping in nice beds, being well groomed and kitted out, taking holidays at the kennels and by requiring veterinary services.
There are currently more pets in Australia than people – around 33 million, with the pet industry contributing over $6 billion to the Australian economy, according to a 2010 report published in the Sun Herald.
When you look at your little pet, it’s hard to believe that the pet industry employs more than 47,600 people. And of course every person it employs contributes to the economy.
Today pet owners are spending more and more on their animals. For one thing, the choice of pet food has increased massively. Scan the supermarket shelves and you’ll find all sorts of gourmet treats, with tempting descriptors – yummy chicken dinner, beef and liver, turkey and vegetables, fish mornay…the selection goes on and on. There are snacks and chews of all kinds, with food accounting for $1.83 billion each year (and growing). And $111 million a year was spent on kitty litter alone.
This is before we look at jackets, jumpers, baubles and beads to play dress-ups with our pets. They must have the latest bed with special cushions and the right lead with car seat belt attachment. How about the range of shampoos and conditioners for dry, normal, and sensitive skins plus grooming aids to keep their fur immaculate? Eat your heart out you mere human.
A happy pet is one that gets to play and don’t they love their squeaky toys! Pet shops these days have an entire toy section to ensure your pet is not bored. Eat your hearts out kids!.
By far the greatest contribution made to the economy by the pet industry comes from vet services. According to the report “A staggering $2.22 billion, 37 per cent of all expenditure goes on veterinary services, which reflects the importance of our pets in our lives.”
No pet-owning household can escape. You can have the healthiest pet in the neighbourhood, but they still need vaccinations, they still need veterinary check-ups, preventative medications, and possibly desexing. And if (God forbid) they get hit by a car and need major surgery, you’re talking thousands of dollars. If they are too seriously affected, euthanasia might be the only option and that too is a cost you must bear.
Pet insurance is a big contributor to the economy. Because if you consider the cost of restoring an animal to heath or saving its life, pet insurance looks like a good investment. The smart way is to insure them young. Once they are age 7 or older, you are unlikely to be eligible to apply for cover. Companies like Petsecure can give you the details about the variety of levels of cover available.