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Australians know how much we love our pets, and we’re not about to change that, but, just how much do we depend on our cats, dogs, rabbits and even fish to keep us entertained and share our love with?

Well, a recent survey by Animal Medicines Australia gives us all the answers, but interpreting them is a mountainous task. In this article, we’re looking at the simple facts and figures of pet ownership statistics in Australia today.

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How many pets are there in Australia in 2024?

There are nearly 29 million pets in Australia (28.7m) as of 2022, living in an estimated 69% of Australian homes (6.9m homes). That means that Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, falling just behind America and Argentina for pets-per-household.

Of those 28.7 million pets, the majority are fish (11.2m), but dogs are the most popular pets, with 4.8 million Australian homes owning dogs.

Pet ownership statistics in Australia

Pet Ownership Statistics in Australia

Understanding the Figures

The most recent survey of all pet groups in Australia was carried out by Animal Medicines Australia in 2022. As of January 2024, there are no more up-to-date figures for Australian pet ownership than the Animal Medicines survey.

View the Survey results in full: Pets in Australia: A national survey of pets and people

How many pets, by animal, are there in Australia? 

The figures can be a little bit more confusing when it comes to the fine detail, but dogs come out on top as Australia’s most popular pet, despite the total number of pet fish being higher. Cats are a respectable second place, with cat owners preferring multiple pet homes to dog owners, who like to limit and focus their affection.

Dogs

4.8 million homes in Australia (just under half, 47.8%) own dogs. The vast majority of those homes own just one dog, while about 21% own two or more.

In total, Australians own 6.3 million pet dogs.

Read the article below if you're planning to get a dog: 

Cats

There are 3.3 million homes in Australia with a pet cat. The number has risen since the pandemic but not as rapidly as dogs, possibly due to strict regulations about outdoor cats in certain states.

On average, there are 1.6 cats per home, so cat owners are more likely than dog owners to have more than one pet.

In total, there are 5.3 million pet cats in Australia.

Refer to the article below for more info on owning a cat:

Number of pets owned in Australia

Fish

Fish, despite their lack of cuddle appeal, are the most numerous pet animals in the country, thanks to them generally being kept in tanks with multiple fish. On average, Australians keep 9.2 fish at a time, and 1.2 million homes have them (12% of Australian homes).

Pet fish include pond fish as well as tropical fish in tanks.

In total, there are 11.2 million pet fish in Australia.

Birds

Birds, including egg-laying chickens and aviary birds (indoor and outdoor), are still incredibly popular pets. Their personalities are surprising to many cat and dog owners, and their potential to provide eggs as well as company definitely adds to their appeal.

Since 2019 there has been an increase in chickens and a decrease in aviary birds, but roughly the same proportion of homes in total kept birds (10.5% of homes – 1 million).

In total, there are 3.7 million pet birds in Australia.

Small Mammals (Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, etc.)

Small mammals are a wide group of pets, including rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils and ferrets. The most popular among them are rabbits (54% of pet small mammals). In 2022, just 3.7% of homes reported owning small mammals as pets, either indoor or outdoor (just 370,000 homes across Australia).

Despite small mammal owners caring for an average of 2.4 small mammals (which are typically homed in pairs), the overall figure is smaller than most other pet types.

In total, there are 0.9 million small mammals kept as pets in Australia.

How many pets are there in Australia

Reptiles

Reptiles, from snakes to frogs and turtles to salamanders, make up less than 3% of Australia’s pet population, owned by just 315,000 homes. In most cases, they are kept in pairs, but because reptiles and amphibians tend to live longer lives, many are bequeathed and handed down through families.

The population has, therefore, steadily increased with noticeable rises since 2016.

In total, there are 0.5 million pet reptiles in Australia.

Wrapping Up Pet Ownership Statistics in Australia to Date

Pet ownership statistics are difficult to represent accurately, and the likelihood of certain types of pet being kept in pairs increases the number of pets without affecting the overall number of owners of that pet species.

The simplest way to assess it is by households, where the popularity of that type of pet is clearer, but when it comes to sheer numbers, the least popular pets tend to account for a disproportionate population. But, whatever the pet ownership statistics in Australia might say, we love them equally no matter what.

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