2016 Petplan Pet Census: Family

April 6th, 2017

petplan insurance pet census

Family Values

Almost all pet owners thought their pet was like a family member. In fact, 99.3% of respondents considered their four legged friends an integral part of the family. In saying this, the same percentage of answers included they would also take their pets on holidays with them, strengthening the connection between human and animal.

Being a part of the family usually brings along benefits in the form of sleeping arrangements. From the overall amount of responses, a whopping 62.8% said that they allow their pet to sleep in their bed. This being almost two thirds of the total responses shows either how much we love and adore our pets, or how we, as owners, give in to the needs and pleas from our furry family members.

  • The next largest answer was inside/lounge room with 15.3% of respondents
  • 6% of owners only allow their pets to sleep outside
  • The Laundry was another somewhat common sleeping area for pets with 5.7% of answers
  • 9% of owners answered ‘other’ in relation to their pets sleeping area
  • With 0.7% of respondents, the garage was the least popular sleeping option for our pets

When it comes to purchasing a pet, people can have a variety of reasons for doing so. According to our survey, the most popular reason for purchasing a pet was for the companionship due to being lonely, with half of the respondents selecting this answer.

  • Another popular answer, with 35.9% of respondents, was due to the owners loving pets and they simply “wanted a pet”
  • 9% of respondents purchased a pet to become more active and get outdoors
  • 2% of owners got the pet as a working animal
  • On an extremely positive note, 2.2% of respondents purchased a new puppy in order to rescue them from a shelter or the streets
  • 9% of respondents received their new pet as a gift from a loved one or friends


The loss of a pet…

It’s every pet owners worst thought, what happens when your beloved cat or dog sadly passes away one day. What do you do? How will you cope? Will you ever be able to move on? It is all these questions that we have put forward to the respondents in order to gain an understanding in to what the average pet owner feels and does when it comes to that unfortunate time.

A vast majority of respondents (90.2%) believed that a compassionate leave day from their employer was acceptable to mourn the death of a pet. This percentage is backed up when alongside the 99.3% of respondents who considered their pet an integral part of the family.

When asking pet owners what they will do when their pet passes, a mixed response was expected as it can be a hard question to think about let alone process. In saying this, the majority of respondents (59.5%) would have their pet properly cremated to either keep their ashes or scatter them in their pet’s favourite place.

  • A quarter of owners (25.8%) said that they would hold a burial service to remember their pet
  • 3% of owners said that they would adopt or purchase a new pet (although not immediately)
  • A substantial number (4.3%) of people said they wouldn’t know what to do if their pet wasn’t with them anymore and couldn’t bare thinking about it
  • A group of owners (1.9%) believed that they wouldn’t purchase another pet again in respect to their beloved furry friend
  • Only 1.3% of respondents said that they would only grieve/mourn their pets passing and nothing else


The more the merrier

The Petplan Pet Census 2016 was not only to find out about cats and dogs and what their owners preferences were, we also wanted to know about all the pets that Australian citizens own. Out of all the respondents, 24.9% said that they own a pet other than a cat or a dog.

As you could imagine, an abundance of different pets were named with fish (23.7%) and horses (20.5%) being the most popular. Not far behind the two front runners were birds (17.6%) and chickens (15.5%), followed closely by:

  • Rabbits (4.9%)
  • Reptiles (4.5%)
  • Other (4.3%)
  • Guinea Pigs (3.5%)
  • Farm Animals (3.4%)
  • Turtles (2%)

From the responses we received, these ‘nontraditional’ pets were purchased due to a number of reasons. The main reason for purchase was because the owner loves animals with 30.4% or respondents preferring this option. This was closely followed with 19.1% of respondents purchasing their pet via adoption or to rescue them. Many owners had received the pet as a gift (11.4%) while just over 1 in 10 people (10.8%) used the pet for eggs or farming purposes. The straight answer of “I always wanted another pet” was used by 8.7% of respondents with 6.8% of owners getting the pet for their children. The final three answers to round out the question were that they always had pets (5.2%), due to their living arrangements (4.6%), and to use their pet for competition (3.1%).

Expenses are once again a major factor when it comes to owning an animal, and not surprisingly, the majority of respondents (48%) said they spend between $1,500 and $5,000 on their animals annually. The next group of owners (19.2%) say they spend between $750 and $1,500 for the year. 18% of owners spend less than $750 annually while 5.9% spend $5,000 – $10,000. There were 6.8% of respondents who spent between $10,000 and $20,000 annually on their pets with the final 2.1% of owners spending more than $20,000 on all their animals in a yearly period.

desensitize a horse

Horsing around

From the 20.5% of respondents who owned a horse, a bit over half of them did not have horse insurance and the majority (58%) used their horse for personal enjoyment. Of these horse owners only 14% used them for competition alone while 28% said they used their horse for both personal enjoyment and competition.


Giving a pet treats seems to be the normal thing to do, with owners handing them out for training, after completing a command, special occasions and sometimes just for the sake of spoiling their feline/canine friend.

This is backed up when we asked the respondents what they thought of spoiling their pet with treats, with more than two thirds of owners (68.8%) believing that giving their pets treats is normal, as they are like any other member of the family.

  • 9% of answers believed treats are necessary because they want to give their pet the very best of everything
  • A similar group of respondents (6.6%) thought of treats as a good thing as it shows how much we care about them
  • The second largest segment of respondents (17.7%) believed spoiling their pets with treats was a bad thing


Click the links below to read the other Pet Census sections:

Part 1: Health

Part 2: Finance

Part 3: Social Relations


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