• Update: Australia’s first pet census results are in

    July 22, 2023



    Gray kitten with elderly owner

    Click here for more pet + animal news on Animal Friendly Life

    Update 13 January 2023: The results from Australia’s first pet census are in and show more than half of Victorians own at least one pet.

    In the landmark survey, the Victorian Pet Census shows significant data on pet ownership across the state.

    As of July 2023, 58% of adult Victorians own a pet, translating to about 1.4 million households.

    Dogs reign as the most popular pet, with 41% of pet owners having canines, followed by cats at 24%.

    Other pets like birds, fish, and small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs are less common.

    Interestingly, 42% of pet owners have just one type of pet, while a smaller percentage have a mix of different animals.

    More to come.


    Original: Animal welfare organisation PetRescue says pets are very much a part of our families, so it makes sense to include them in the Census.

    It added pet data could also bring additional benefits to pets, pet owners, and the wider community.

    In an online post, the organisation says it’s important pets are included in this snapshot of the country for a number of reasons.

    PET FACT 60% of dog and cat owners refer to their pet as a family member

    “Given the Census captures information about family households and dynamics, pets should be included in the data gathered by the ABS,” PetRescue says.

    “As such, (they) should be included in the family household data gathered by the ABS.

    “The use of accurate pet population and demographic data from the Census, alongside pet adoption data, will expand the existing research about how people and pets live together in Australia.”

    In its letter of support for the submission, PetRescue requested the following data be collected:

    • Animal age, sex, and desexing status
    • The nature of pet caring roles (e.g., where pets are in temporary or semi-permanent care, such as with foster carers)
    • Cat carers or people who care for urban stray cats in their community
    • Method of pet acquisition and source of the pet (e.g., locality of acquisition will help to understand companion animal movements within Australia)

    How pets in the Census can benefit the country

    Emergency services

    Including pets would assist emergency services by providing data on the number and types of pets in each suburb.

    This would help in planning for evacuations and other emergency responses.

    Pet services

    The data would help identify and address ‘resource deserts’, ensuring that all people and pets have access to necessary services.

    These services could include pet groomers, vet clinics, and other pet care services.

    Animal welfare

    The data would enable pet and owner support organisations to better understand their communities’ needs. This would help them to fund and provide services more effectively.

    Dog parks and other council services

    Local councils could use the data to budget for and provide pet-related services, like off-lead dog parks, based on the number of pets living in an area.

    More accurate information about pet populations would lead to better services for everyone.

    Better understanding of pet populations

    Having a clearer picture of how Australians live with their pets could improve support and service provision.

    It could also help more pets find homes in areas with low pet populations.

    About PetRescue

    PetRescue is a national animal welfare charity that saves thousands of lives every month by looking at the big picture, disrupting the status quo, and finding innovative tech solutions to the biggest challenges facing rescue pets in Australia.

    In 2004, PetRescue launched the first national pet adoption website to help rescue pets, who may otherwise go unnoticed, find a new family to love for life.

    Today, its free programs and services help millions of Australians discover the joy of adopting a new family member and help more than 1,000 rescue organisations, shelters and pounds save the lives of thousands of rescue pets.

    Click here to find out more about PetRescue or to see how you can help their work


    Victoria launches Australian-first Pet Census


    Urgent call to improve pet friendly aged care