What type of pet?

Pet owner holding dog and catPopular pets in Australia include:

  • cats
  • dogs
  • birds
  • rabbits
  • guinea pigs
  • fish.

More unusual pets can include:

  • reptiles
  • ferrets
  • stick insects.

Choose a pet that will suit your lifestyle and surroundings. For instance:

  • How often are you home? If you work long hours, a dog may not be a good choice of pet, as all dogs require lots of companionship. In this case, pets such as fish might be more suitable.
  • How large is your backyard, and do you have good fencing? If you have a small backyard or poor fencing, then a dog may not be a good choice. You could consider a pet such as a cat that lives indoors with you.
  • Are you prepared to have more than one pet? Some types of animals, such as birds and rabbits, need the company of each other to stay happy and healthy.
  • How much money can you afford to spend on your pet? All pets are expensive — even animals that are cheap to purchase, like fish, birds and guinea pigs, can cost a lot of money when it comes to buying and setting up tanks, cages and hutches. Some dog breeds will cost more to keep than others. Large dogs need more food, some breeds of dogs need regular clipping of their coats.
  • Are you renting? Your landlord may not let you to own a cat or a dog. You may want to consider other pets such as fish.
  • Do you live in an apartment? Some birds, such as parrots, can be very noisy, and may attract complaints from neighbours. You may want to consider a quiet pet such as a cat, or fish.
  • Do you have young children? Some types of pets tolerate children better than others.
  • Are you prepared to have your pet inside with you? Dogs should not be left in the backyard all day — they need to spend time inside the house with you, in order to remain happy and healthy.
  • Does your council require cats to be confined to your property? If so, you must be prepared to have your cat live inside with you, or to buy or build cat proof fencing or a cat enclosure.
  • How much time do you have to exercise your pet? Dogs need daily walks. Some breeds of dog are more energetic than others and may need longer or more frequent walks.
  • How much time do you have to train your pet? Dogs, particularly puppies or young dogs, need time spent on toilet training and basic obedience training. Puppies and kittens also require lots of socialisation, and regular small meals throughout the day, during the first 6 months of life. You may be better off adopting an adult dog or cat, who is already house trained and socialised.

Learn more about different types of pets. We have information about:

Search online for information about different types of pets. Some websites offer online surveys that help predict which dog or cat breed would best suit you.

Contact dog and cat associations who can put you in touch with breed clubs who can provide information on particular breeds.

Speak to your local vet, animal welfare shelter, or people you know or meet who own the particular pet or breed you are considering.

Page last updated: 13 Jul 2020