How Modern Australian Lifestyle Has Changed Pet Ownership

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How Modern Australian Lifestyle Has Changed Pet Ownership

The numbers add up. Aussies love their pets. In fact, there are over 25 million pets in Australia, with over 64% of households owning one.  Let’s take a look at some stats below and later consider how modern Australian lifestyle has changed pet ownership.

• 40% of households own a dog
• 25% of households own a cat
• 84% have owned a pet at some point
• 53% would like to own a pet at some point

Pet care in Australia is a booming industry, raking in $12 billion dollars a year. People from all over the country are forking out on everything from clipping and grooming services, boarding kennels, and training programs, to vet visits, pet insurance, and more. With money being poured into the industry every day, there are also more ways than ever to monitor your pet’s health, diagnose illnesses, and treat symptoms.

So, what does pet ownership look like in Australia? It’s safe to say, pets are becoming more ingrained in our family lives. This is evidenced in how much money is spent to ensure their safety and comfort, as well as how prominent they are on our social media feeds. Plus, it’s now common knowledge that pets are good for your physical and mental health. But while this boom isn’t slowing down anytime soon, it does pose some challenging questions.  

Sign of the times: why pet ownership is changing

Things are certainly changing. We’re living in smaller spaces in denser areas. There is a rise in single-person households and a higher proportion of senior citizens. To add to this, our lifestyles are becoming more hectic and we’re working longer hours. So the question is – how is this impacting pet ownership?

As evidenced above, pet ownership is clearly an important part of Australian life. But while it’s true that people living in medium-density dwellings are more likely to own a pet, the number of Australians successfully living with a pet in smaller dwellings is on the rise. This just goes to show that big houses and big backyards are no longer a prerequisite for owning a pet.

However, it does mean that our attitudes towards certain breeds of animals are changing – particularly when it comes to dogs. While smaller breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs are becoming more popular, people are also finding ways to incorporate bigger breeds into their inner-city homes – and are more willing to modify their lifestyles and mindsets to suit.

That said, the main hurdle that potential pet owners are running into are housing restrictions imposed by landlords and body corporates. In a recent study that asked non-pet-owners who wanted to own a pet the reason why they didn’t, 67% of respondents said the key reason was due to housing limitations. When it comes to the reasons for dogs being banned, 39% of people said their body corporate was responsible, while 28% said it was the landlord’s decision.  

These stats seem glaringly at odds with Australia’s loving attitude towards pets. And it’s actually hard to understand why pets are so often banned from strata and rental premises. Fortunately, there is hope in NSW that the State Government, with the NSW Residential Tenancies Act being reviewed, will consider more pet-friendly laws. But what else can pet owners do to overcome this crisis?

It’s true that finding pet-friendly accommodation is frustrating. But to increase your chances, it’s important to prove that you’re a good tenant and a responsible pet owner. It will also help if you have a record of successfully renting with your pets, as well as solid references.

It’s safe to say, pet ownership is a big deal in Australia. We have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and while the modern lifestyle is certainly responsible for this increase in ownership, it has also brought about some distinct challenges.

Shayen de Silva

Since I’ve been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing I’ve loved more than telling a good story.

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