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We’re ‘pawsitively’ in love with pets, with Aussies favouring animals over children

Reviewed by Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor
4 min read
15 Nov 2023

With as many as 29 million pets living across Australia, it would be negligent to say that we’re a country that doesn’t love our pets. Yet, this love may be growing stronger than people may initially think, with the latest research from Compare the Market finding as many as one in two people say that their family pet is, or would be, as important as children.*

‘Purr-haps’ on an even more controversial note, Compare the Market also found that one in twenty 20 people say that a pet is, or would be, more important than children.

When we broke these numbers down by generations, we also found that younger people were more likely to consider pets as equally, if not more important, than children than their elder counterparts. The only deviation from this trend was Baby Boomers, who were the second most likely cohort to say that their pets are, or would be, more important as children.

GenerationPet is/would be as equally important as childrenPet is/would be less important as childrenPet is/would be more important as children
Gen Z61.6%30.4%8.0%
Gen X48.3%48.7%3.0%
Baby Boomers45.5%48.9%5.6%
Australian Average 51.4%44.1%4.5%

There was also a big difference between the states, with Victorians being the most likely to consider their four-legged furry friends as being more important than children. New South Welshmen were almost on par with the national average, while Queenslanders, South Australians and Western Australians were in decreasing favour of putting pets on such high pedestals – or scratching posts.

StatePet is/would be more important as children
New South Wales4.7%
South Australia2.7%
Western Australia1.9%

The Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania have been excluded from the above detailing who think a pet is, or would be more important than children due to lower sampling. However, those responses have been included in all other breakdowns in the media release.

Compare the Market’s General Manager for General Insurance and pet insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, spoke about how loving a pet is only half the battle in ensuring they have a happy and healthy life.

“Clearly the love for our pets is boundless, but it’s not the only thing that we need to give them to keep them happy and safe,” Mr Taylor said. “People should make sure that their pets are getting enough exercise relevant for their breed, the right amount of nutrition, as well as the socialisation they deserve. All of these factors are important aspects of keeping a happy and healthy pet with you for years to come.

“If people are thinking about buying a pet, one thing they need to consider is the type of lifestyle they have and look to match a pet to that rather than getting a pet based on its popularity. You wouldn’t want to get a Blue Heeler while you’re living in an apartment or a Burmese if you’re always away from home.

“Purchasing cover while your pet is young can be easier than waiting until they are older. Obtaining cover for a pet that has a pre-existing medical condition can be difficult, and may be more costly.”

Mr Taylor also warned pet parents that despite the number of people saying that they would value pets equal to or above children, recent research by Compare the Market also found that 73% of pet owners don’t have pet insurance, for when the worst does happen.

“While people may do everything right, there may still be unexpected events that will lead to their pet needing to go to the vet. Yet, we found that almost three-quarters of pet owners don’t have pet insurance, which is alarming to say the least,” Mr Taylor said.

“A simple visit to the vet can easily cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on the sort of trouble your pet got into. By taking pre-emptive measures to get a pet insurance policy in place, you may be able to ease the financial burden that an unexpected trip to the vet can have on your finances.

“Furthermore, depending on the level of cover people take out, pet insurance could also cover some costs associated with the likes of puppy training classes, routine check-ups and even dental care!”


* Compare the Market surveyed 1,005 Australian adults aged 18 and over in October 2023


For interviews and more information, please contact:

Noémi Hadnagy | m: 0433 377 252 | e: [email protected]    


Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

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avatar of author: Noémi Hadnagy

Written by Noémi Hadnagy

As a Media and Comms Advisor, Noémi works closely with a variety of expert teams at Compare the Market to create compelling and informative pieces to help Australians make better financial decisions. Noémi holds a Bachelor of Business - International majoring in Public Relations from Queensland University of Technology as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration specialising in International Business from BI Norwegian Business School. In her spare time, you can find her reading a book or planning her next international holiday.

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