woman celebrates National Love Your Pet Day with her dog

Pet Ownership Research Reveals Changing NZ Trends


Recent Blog:

To celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, PD surveyed over 1,800 pet owners to gain insights into their love for pets and more. Our pet ownership research explored several key topics, from average vet bills for a cat or dog to rising pet adoption rates. In addition to spend, many of our key findings looked at the psychological and emotional impacts of pet ownership.

“Honey has been with us since 8 weeks old she is 7 this year, we got her after the 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake as a companion for my husband and myself. She is a loving, loyal wee girl and she goes everywhere with us. She is very very special, she looks after us and gives us so much love; we love her so much and cannot imagine life without her.”

– Caroline

In this article we’re sharing findings like these with the wider pet care industry. Whether the data is useful to your work or you simply find it interesting, let’s take a closer look.

vet treats Ragdoll cat and the results of treatment go into the latest pet ownership research data

Average vet bills for a cat or dog

Our pet ownership research shows when it comes to average annual spend on vet bills, 46% of cat and dog owners spend up to $500. It’s noteworthy that only 2% of survey respondents needed to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on vet bills over a year.

This proportion more than doubles to 5%, though, when disclosing an annual spend of between $2,501 and $5,000. Then a significantly higher proportion of 14% spends between $1,000 and $2,500 annually. 1% of respondents needed to pay over $10,000 in a year on vet bills.

“With every single thing I do. Every decision I make is made with her welfare and happiness in mind.”

– Abbey

Femoral head ostectomy, leg surgery, CT scans and car accidents were among some of the higher treatment costs, to name a few.

While these numbers vary one thing is clear. If you don’t have anything between $500 and $10,000 lying around spare it’s likely worthwhile having pet insurance. To guide pet owners in making an educated decision, we’ve written up a guide to pet insurance vs savings.

Take-up of pet insurance sees a surge

Another key takeaway is that pet insurance uptake among Kiwi pet owners is rising significantly.

We found more than one third of our survey respondents have pet insurance. This is in stark contrast with our September 2020 research, which found just 15% of respondents had invested in a pet insurance plan.

That same year, PD had just entered the New Zealand pet insurance market. Now in our third year, we’re seeing an obvious growing awareness among pet owners and industry professionals on the benefits of pet insurance. Not only does it help pet owners protect companion animals but pet insurance is also good for vets.

Here’s what Dr Cath shares on why vets are recommending pet insurance:

Pet ownership research shows increased adoption

Adoption of pets from shelters seems to also have surged in the last few years. While it may have seen a sharp spike during COVID lockdowns followed by a sudden dip that saw many Kiwis give up pets for adoption, this new data comes at a more stable time.

In 2020, 46% of respondents had rescued at least one of their pets from an animal shelter. Today, our new pet ownership research shows that this is a growing number, with 51% of pet owners having done so. Another interesting stat looks at intention, with 82% of respondents saying they will consider adopting from a shelter in the future.

Much of the PD customer blog is devoted to growing awareness around how to adopt pets for those considering it. For people buying pets, our blog helps to identify ethical dog breeders and avoid puppy mills in New Zealand.

Owners pay more to travel with pets

New Zealand (and Australia) increasingly supports people wanting to travel with their pets. The country is dotted with pet friendly Airbnb accommodation and pet owners show a growing appetite for bringing pets along on holidays.

Only 38% respondents leave pets at home when holidaying. That tips the scales sharply with nearly two-thirds (62%) taking pets with them on getaways. Of these, 38% have paid extra for the added benefit of pet-friendly accommodation.

Speaking of bringing pets along, 1 % of respondents bring their pets to work. A further 19% work from home and therefore have their pets at work by default. While 45% don’t bring pets to work, 19% of these would if their workplace allowed it.

pet parent takes dog on holiday to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day

National Love Your Pet Day relationship figures

When it comes to love, a strong proportion of pet owners are confessing to loving pets more than their partners. To be precise, 26% of people with partners felt this way. Happily for everyone involved, a further 57% of people love pets and partners equally.

“The thing I love most about my pets are their personalities and the love they give. I have no intention of having children myself so my fur babies are my only babies and they’re spoilt and know it. They provide so much love, laughter and happiness. They are both quirky and hysterical.”

– Kasey-Marie

An interesting and very pragmatic aspect of pet parenting as a couple is the pet prenup (or pet-nup). This growing trend has seen the headlines more and more often over the past few years. Our latest research shows that 11% of pet owners have now entered into a pet prenup arrangement with partners.

This wonderfully shows that owners are thinking long-term about the happiness and welfare of pets.

pet owners sit together with Labrador for a National Love Your Pet Day portrait

Pets provide emotional and mental support

Speaking of the happiness of pets, a healthy 80% of people credit their pets with making them laugh. Closely following, (respondents could choose multiple options) is that 79% of people are cheered by pets when they’re feeling sad.

“He loves unconditionally, his personality just makes you fall in love every day. His passion for watching TV, tennis balls and bubbles. He’s cheeky, loving, a bit sassy, and protective. He’s been there for me through some of the hardest times in my life, and he gives me a reason to smile every day.”

– Emma

Mental health support from pets won the highest positive response rate, at 83%. (24% also shared that pets are a sounding board they can vent to). Emotional stability from pets also factored in high at 64%, while 59% of respondents said pets helped their family bond.

Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day with PD

Our National Love Your Pet Day research is aimed at understanding the needs and wants of pet owners and their pets. We’re dedicated to the health and welfare of Kiwi pets and we know you are too. We invite your organisation to join our partnership rewards programme.

Help educate your customers on the value and support having pet insurance can provide their pets and their pockets. By helping refer more people to our award winning pet insurance you’ll be ensuring Kiwi pets get better medical treatment. To thank you for joining this effort, we’ll reward your organisation. Find out how this can generate added income and about other benefits and rewards.

Click here to enquire today.

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