Petplan Pet Census Report

April 18th, 2017


Click here to download a PDF copy of the full Pet Census Report: Petplan Pet Census Report

For over a century, the human census has been run in Australia to gain an insight in to the people that call this land home. After the success of the Petplan 2011 pet census, we decided there needed to be an update and we were thrilled at the responses and findings.

The most popular companion animals are dogs and cats with an estimated 7.5 million within Australia alone. At a time when we are learning and understanding more about the humans we live alongside, it is vitally important to learn more about our pets; how we look after them and also how they can look after us. Petplan’s Pet Census seeks to fill this void of information. The data has been collected from over 10,000 pet owners from all over Australia, quizzing them on topics including their pet’s health, the social relations that come with owning a pet and the financial costs.

We all know the pet-keeping is a widespread and well accepted phenomenon in today’s society. As a nation of self-confessed animal lovers, the number of households that have a pet is greater than two thirds of the population. So what can we learn about our society from the millions of people who say that pet owning makes them happier, fitter, and more sociable and compassionate?

The census demonstrates that pets can play an enormous role in their owner’s lives. As well as providing a source of companionship, support and entertainment, there is now substantial evidence to suggest that such animals may be able to promote their owners ‘physical and psychological health.  Numerous studies now point to pets, and notably dogs, helping to reduce their owners’ blood pressure and heart rate, ameliorate the effects of potentially stressful life-events, reduce levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression and enhance feelings of autonomy, competence and self-esteem. There are even indications that some animals might be able to ‘sniff out’ cancerous tumours and proof that dogs can warn off impending epileptic seizures and sense drops in the blood sugar levels of patients with diabetes.

The Petplan Pet Census sought to explore four main areas relating to the human-animal bond, namely health, finance, social relations and family life. This report doesn’t just present the data arising from the census but it sheds much needed light on pet-keeping practices in Australia today. As a result, Petplan has a clear mandate to steer owners towards adopting practices designed to promote positive pet welfare and, more generally, encourage a successful and happy relationship with their companion animal.

But what else does it tell us? Whilst the Petplan Pet Census highlights areas in which owners may need some guidance in keeping their pet happy and healthy, the overwhelming outtake is that in a modern world of ‘Big Society’ thinking, pets are a very helpful starting point to enable us all to show compassion, empathy and consideration for others.

Click the links below to read the pet census sections:

Part 1: Health

Part 2: Finance

Part 3: Social Relations

Part 4: Family

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