Media Release

Sick as a dog: pets costing $1.3 billion in vet bills

    • 64% of pet owners visited the vet once in the last year
    • 22% spent $631 on trips to the vet
    • 3 things to consider before taking out pet insurance

7 November, 2018, Sydney, Australia – Australian pet owners are splashing out $1.3 billion1annually on the vet, according to new research from, the site that compares virtually everything.

The survey of 1,248 Aussie pet owners found that 64% had to take their animal to the vet at least once in the past year, spending $248 on average.

One in five (22%) pet owners took their furry friend to the vet three times and shelled out $631 on average.

Kate Browne, Personal Finance Expert at, said many pet owners are unaware of how costly vet care can be.

“The real cost of owning a pet is not the cost of buying the animal or even the food and accessories, it’s the money spent in vet consultations,” she said.

Australia is a pet-loving nation, with the research showing 5.5 million of the country’s 8.9 million households own a pet.

Browne said some devoted pet lovers are getting into financial stress paying for their pet’s veterinary care.

“The cost of annual check-ups and vaccinations stay fairly consistent but it’s the outlay for emergency care and acute health problems in animals that can quickly spiral,” she said.

“When your pet has a serious ailment, how much would you spend to save it?”

A separate survey shows 26% of people have insured a pet dog, while one in five cats are covered.

“Take-up of pet insurance is quite low in Australia but it’s a worthwhile safety net for all kinds of concerns, from ticks to tumors."

“You don’t want a vet bill to turn into a life or death situation for your animal if you can’t afford the recommended treatment,” she said.

1There are 8.9 million households in Australia. 62% own a pet (5,518,000). The average pet owner spends $248 a year at the vet, so (5,518,000) x ($248) = $1,368,464,000

How much have you spent on the vet in the last twelve months?

State/TerritoryAnnual spend at the vet*
National Average$626

Source: survey of 1,248 pet owners October
2018 *excluding pet owners who have not visited the vet.
NT, TAS and ACT removed due to small sample siz


  • Check your breed: Some specific breeds of dogs and cats have a higher risk of certain health conditions and therefore may benefit more from pet insurance cover. Finder has put together a comprehensive list of the average cost to insure more than 560 dog breeds, from the most expensive, the Hygen Hound Cross, to the least expensive, the Chihuahua.
  • See what's actually covered. Read the fine print carefully, and if there is anything you don’t quite understand or you’re not sure about, ask your vet to clarify. For example, bilateral conditions are often not covered. This means if your dog has suffered from dysplasia in one hip, then treatment for the other hip can fall into the category of a pre-existing condition.
  • Ditch the add-ons. If you can live without certain activities, you can avoid paying for them to be covered. For example, if your insurer wants you to pay extra for scuba diving cover, maybe you can leave scuba diving for next time and settle for snorkelling. Or consider leaving your high-value items at home to avoid paying the extra fee it takes to cover those.
  • Over- and underinsurance. Find a balance between adequate cover and paying more than you need. If you live in an apartment and your cat never ventures outside beyond the balcony, it’s unlikely to get hit by a car. If your dog’s breed is known for congenital conditions, choosing budget insurance that doesn’t cover hereditary problems might leave you high and dry.


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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