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Pet owners hit hard by inflation, according to new data

Michael Sergel,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 May 2024, 5:00am
Photo / SPCA
Photo / SPCA

Pet owners hit hard by inflation, according to new data

Michael Sergel,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 May 2024, 5:00am

Households with pets are being urged to budget for unexpected costs, as latest figures show they continue to be hit hard by inflation.

Stats NZ data shows the price of pets and pet-related products has increased 11 per cent in the year to March, while the price of veterinary services has increased 9.8 per cent.

Overall consumer prices rose 4 per cent over the same period, while incomes rose 4.1 per cent.

The price of a can of pet food has increased 16.4 per cent – far more than a can of tuna (11 per cent), salmon (3.4 per cent) or peaches (1 per cent). Cans of tomatoes, spaghetti, soup and pineapple all got cheaper over the same period.

Over the past two years, pet costs have increased 24.3 per cent and vet bills have increased 16.8 per cent – the sharpest price hikes since the 1980s.

Consumer NZ Campaigns Adviser Abby Damen said people shouldn’t underestimate the ongoing responsibilities and costs involved in having a pet, including pet food, vet visits, grooming, training and pet sitters.

“That’s not even covering all the exciting things you’ll probably find yourself wanting to buy a pet. I certainly have spent more than I probably should on my Miniature Schnauzer.”

A PD Insurance of 1800 pet owners last year found 49% were spending more than $1000 a year on their pets, up from 38% of respondents to the same survey three years earlier.

Chief operating officer Michelle Le Long said when it comes to pets, people need to be prepared for the unexpected.

"One in three pets in their lifetime will need some sort of emergency treatment and all pets will encounter at least one illness. What potential pet guardians need to think about is the cost of that and that's often unexpected costs.”

SPCA Scientific Officer Alison Vaughan said the organisation was receiving calls every week from people asking for help with rising costs.

She said adopting animals from a reputable rescue agency was often the cheapest option in the long term and investing time in a pet was also crucial.

“I have cats at home and they are just as happy with a cardboard box as the fancy bed. Just spend time with them – that’s the most important thing.”

How the price of canned foods have changed in the year to March 2024:

Pet food 16.4%
Tuna 11.0%
Salmon 3.9%
Peaches 1.0%
Soup -2.6%
Pineapple -2.4%
Tomatoes -6.9%
Spaghetti -3.9%
Source: Stats NZ

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