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The economy of pets

Amin, Tara (2022) The economy of pets. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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In recent years there has been an increase in the expenditure by owners on their pets' care. There is currently limited knowledge as to what motivates pet owners to spend money on veterinary care in Australia. In this study, the spending habits of Australian pet owners and motivations for the increase in spending were investigated to determine if there was a link between behaviour that could signify a close bond between the pet and the owner and spending on veterinary care. To address these themes a survey was design to determine the demographics of owners, their pets, their attachment to their pet and their spending on veterinary care.

Of the 104 pet owners that responded to this study most respondents were owners of dogs (80) while the remainder owned cats (24). It was found that pet owners were motivated to spend more on their pets based on the severity of their pet’s condition and attachment behaviours they displayed towards their pet. This research also revealed that many respondents view their pets as their friends or family members. Interestingly, pet insurance status was not found to affect the spending habits of owners however, it shows that the motivation to spend seems to be driven predominately by female pet owners. This study presents the motivating factors behind veterinary expenditure through the lens of Australian pet owners. It also contributes to the continued study of the relationship between attachment theory and pet ownership further supporting the concept that attachment theory can be applied to people and their pets. The research also provides firsthand feedback provided by Australian pet owners about the financial impacts of pet ownership.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Business
Supervisor(s): Cullen, Grant, Akstinaite, Vita and Paull, Megan
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