We’re spending big bucks on little dogs


  • One in six pet owners have a shih tzu
  • 8.7% of the population have a spider or insect as a pet. This is two and a half times the national average.
  • 19% of pet households have ducks or chickens
  • 17% of people have goats, sheep or pigs as pets


OUR region spends more on pets than anywhere else in Queensland.

New Suncorp cost-of-living figures show the average central Queensland pet owner spends $7141 a year - $137 a week or $19 a day - on their pets, not including food.

This is nearly twice the state average of $3900, and more than double what south-east Queensland pet owners spend, $3217.

Statistics also show we prefer shih tzus, terriers, labradors and golden retrievers when it comes to dog breeds.

This did not surprise Gladstone pet groomer Lyn Cassar.

Ms Cassar, who owns and manages Foxy Locks Dog Grooming, said shih tzus were popular because they were a good universal dog.

She said that while most Gladstone pet owners spent an average amount at the salon on grooming their dogs, she loved it when someone asked for a fancier cut.

Ms Cassar said pet owners considered their animals part of the family and unique and fancy pooch haircuts encouraged individuality.

Pet"I love it," she said. "There's a pretty little dog under there. Show it to the world."

When it comes to spending on pets, the biggest cost was regular pet medication, including flea collars and worming tablets, which takes $1325 out of a pet owner's pocket every year.

Pet owners also spend about $733 a year - $14 a week - fixing things pets damage, such as gardens and chewed laptops.

Suncorp Bank Central Queensland regional manager Tom Troy admitted he was surprised the region's pet owners spent more on their pets than any other region in Queensland.

But he said it could be because many pets in the region played a part in a business, such as a farm.

Mr Troy also said many people in the region would have other pets, such as horses, cows, lambs and chicken and geese, which could be the reason why central Queenslanders are the biggest spenders.

"From what I've seen, in regional areas, I think pets have moved into the hierarchy structure in families," he said.

"The place the animal or the pet has in the family has changed quite significantly."

He said the new statistics highlighted how important it was to budget pets into yearly spending.

"These are significant expenses," he said.

"It's a lifelong commitment.

"Before you go out and buy a pet, do the sums and make sure you can afford it."

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