Purr-plexing: Thousands of Aussies dump their pets as cost of living pressures grow
Millions of pet owners can't afford to take care of their pets due to the rising cost of living, according to new research by Finder.
A Finder survey of 670 Australian pet owners found 45% – equivalent to 3.1 million households – have cut back spending on their furry friends to save money.
A devastating 3% of pet owners – 207,000 households – admit they have had to give up their pet or take it to a shelter due to grim financial conditions.
James Martin, insurance expert at Finder, said pet owners are feeling the pinch.
"It's becoming increasingly difficult to care for pets on a tight budget.
"Cash-strapped owners are taking action to cut pet related costs, but that could lead to costly long-term health complications."
The research revealed almost 1 in 4 (23%) owners are shopping around for cheaper alternatives to their standard pet food.
A further 24% have had to reduce the frequency of their visits to grooming services, while 18% have cut back on vet appointments.
Martin said avoiding vet costs could be a false economy.
"Appropriate nutrition and medication is crucial to long-term health and, if skipped, could be an expensive problem down the track.
"Pet insurance can offer financial security in the face of an animal's unexpected illness or injury.
"Inflation has pushed vet bills up and premiums can be very costly – meaning it's more important than ever to shop around for a good deal."
A quarter of pet owners (25%) say they aren't cutting back, but they are worried.
Martin said the best deals for pet insurance are often given to new customers who are willing to switch providers.
"On Finder, pet insurance providers are currently offering deals where the first 2 months are free, you get 10% off for the year, or you save 10% on your monthly grocery shop.
"If your plan isn't giving you the perks you want, there are others who can and will," Martin said.
|Are you cutting back in any of these areas with your pet/pets as cost of living pressures grow?|
|I've had to give up my pet / take it to a shelter||3%|
|Pet food (i.e. swapping to a cheaper brand)||23%|
|No, I am not cutting back, but I am worried||25%|
|No, I am not cutting back and I'm not worried||30%|
|Source: Finder survey of 670 Australian pet owners, April 2023|
Here are the best offers for pet insurance available right now.