Pets and COVID-19 In Australia

Did you know that one in five pet dogs in Australia has been acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic? The pet ownership landscape in Australia has changed significantly during the past couple of years. Animal Medicines Australia has released an in-depth study called ‘Pets and the Pandemic’ looking at the pet industry in Australia. AMA is the peak body representing leading animal health companies in Australia. All of this is great news for the pet grooming industry in Australia. Keep reading to find out how dog ownership and spending habits have changed over the pandemic and how this could be the perfect time to get into the pet services industry.

Dog Ownership Increase

Animal Medicines Australia states that “Nationally, 69% of households now own a pet, up from 61% only two years ago. This has been led by a surge in dog ownership—with over a million additional dogs owned in Australia.” Hundreds of families have welcomed new dogs or puppies into their family during the pandemic, but “contrary to media portrayals of ‘pandemic pet parents’, most new or additional pet owners said they had long been thinking of adding a pet to their household—the pandemic had simply given them the time and opportunity to be home to ‘on-board’ the pets they’ve long wanted.” 

This is great news to hear as pets are for life and should never be given as a gift or ‘boredom buster’ during the pandemic. With this increase of demand during the pandemic, the cost of purchasing a dog in 2021 averages $1,113 and rose to $1,740 for ‘pandemic pups’. “In 2021, the typical Australian pet dog is most likely a young, medium-sized pure breed, acquired through a breeder.” Some of the most popular breeds in Australia continue to be Labradors, Golden Retrievers, English and American Staffordshires (Staffies) and German Shepherds. 

Animal Medicines Australia states that “70% of people say that being a pet owner has improved their lives during the COVID-19 era.” Again, this is amazing to hear as so many Australians have been affected by loneliness, mental health struggles and stress over the past 2 years. Pets bring joy, companionship and purpose to our lives which is much needed during this time.

Spending Habits of Dog Owners

In the last 12 months (2020-2021) Australians spent $909.5 million on dog clipping and grooming services alone! This is only a segment of the $20.5 billion annually that Aussie pet owners spend on their dogs. If you break it down, the average household spend for a dog is $4,422 over 12 months. $196 of this average spend is spent specifically on dog grooming. Mobile dog grooming is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and our COVID-Safe model of ‘Clip and Collect’ (contactless dog washing & grooming). During the COVID-19 pandemic, “more than a third of pet owners (37%) have experienced difficulty accessing at least one product or service.” This was especially true for our Groomers in Greater Melbourne who unfortunately were restricted in our trade for a few weeks in Stage 4 lockdowns in mid-late 2021 and mid-2020. When we were able to get back to work, our Groomers were overwhelmed with enquiries, many even tripling their usual amount of monthly enquiries for washes and grooms. Now, the majority of our Groomers in Greater Melbourne are booked out for weeks to months in advance as they try to get to all their furry clients. This influx happened for a few reasons including:

  • backlog of regular customers, 
  • people in desperate need of welfare grooms 
  • home and shop front salons continue to be closed for weeks after mobile groomers have fortunately been able to return to work. 

As we continue to live with COVID-19, we are responsible as pet owners to meet their physical and health needs. This includes having access to services such as vets, pet food and dog grooming, even in times of strict lockdown. 

If you’re looking for a career change that lets you be your own boss and continue working during the majority of the pandemic, Blue Wheelers Mobile Dog Grooming could be a great opportunity for you! Our franchisees have continued working in most restriction conditions except for some parts of ‘Stage 4’ lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales. Click the link to learn more about our mobile dog grooming franchise opportunities and get your information pack.

There are many more interesting takeaways from this study, we encourage you to continue reading below.


Pets and the Pandemic A social research snapshot of pets and people in the COVID-19 era

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