Planning for the costs of pet ownership

Your loyal companion will follow you around forever, but so will their costs. Owning a pet comes with a lot of expensive responsibilities that you need to keep up with but there are ways to shop around for the best price.    

When it comes to pet insurance, one of the best ways to keep your costs under control is to go for a policy that offers the best value for money. Some policies can seem cheaper upfront, but they might not cover everything you need, which means you may end up paying more in the long run. It’s a good idea to pay attention to what’s covered (or not covered) under every policy, as well as the annual limits or sub-limits.

With SPCA Pet Insurance, there’s three different levels of cover to choose from, so you can find a perfect match for your needs. Whether you’re only worried about the occasional bump or huge vet bills that could cost you thousands of dollars, there’s an option for almost every breed or budget.

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Common costs and fees of pet ownership

The most important part of befriending a pet is understanding all the costs that come with your trusted companion. While most cats and dogs can be adopted for a small fee, it’s the ongoing costs that can really bite you. The biggest expense you’ll need to consider is food and other supplements, followed by vet bills. On average, dog owners in New Zealand spend $200-499 a year on medical costs while cat owners spend $100-199 per year.1 Thankfully, most vet visits are for general check-ups or consultations, which you can always claim back if you have pet insurance.

Dog and cat expenditures


Toys, grooming, and accessories are also ongoing expenses that you’ll need to deal with. Some pets can chew through their favourite toy in just a few days while a small puppy can outgrow their bedding or doghouse after only 6 months to a year. All up, the total cost of dog care is around $1,686 a yearwhile caring for a cat will cost you around $670 a year.3 It’s easy to see why New Zealanders spend over $1.5 billion a year on their cats and dogs – and that amount has only increased over the years.4


AnimalTotal yearly expenditure (2011)Total yearly expenditure (2015)Annual cost of ownership
Dog$752 million$797 million$1,686
Cat$676 million$747 million$670

How are pet insurance premiums calculated?

The average cost of pet insurance in New Zealand depends on a few different factors that are used to set your premiums. 

Dog and cat snuggling on the couch

Animal and breed

Three dogs beaming happily

Level of cover

Cute kitten drinking from a bowl

Age of pet

Dogs face being massaged

Premiums/claim payments

More about SPCA Pet Insurance

For massive vet bills

  • 90% of eligible vet bills covered6
  • $25,000 annual limit
  • $1,000 excess
  • Unlimited consultations up to the specified benefit limit
  • Fortnightly, monthly, or annual premiums
  • Apply from just 8 weeks of age
  • No sub-limit on cruciate ligament conditions
  • No sub-limit for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

For the occasional bump

  • 70% of eligible vet bills covered6
  • $11,000 annual limit
  • No excess
  • $300 per year for consultations
  • Fortnightly, monthly, or annual premiums
  • Apply from just 8 weeks of age

For frequent mishaps

  • 80% of eligible vet bills covered6
  • $20,000 annual limit
  • No excess
  • $500 per year for consultations
  • Fortnightly, monthly, or annual premiums
  • Apply from 8 weeks to 9 years of age

Keen to compare policies from other providers? See how SPCA Pet Insurance stacks up to other providers in New Zealand.

Supporting SPCA

When shopping around for pet insurance or trying to find the best premiums, it might be helpful to think about where your money is going. What if your premiums were also being used to help vulnerable animals all around the country, creating a better life for pet’s in your community? That’s exactly what you can do with SPCA Pet Insurance. By purchasing a policy, you’re helping support the great work of SPCA, bringing more smiles to animals all over New Zealand.  All it takes is one small step to be part of something big.

Get a quote today to join the cause and make your pet proud. 

  1. Cross-sectional survey of pet ownership and pet-related expenditures in New Zealand - PubMed
  2. Owning a dog - New Zealand Now
  3. Owning a cat - New Zealand Now
  4. Companion Animals in New Zealand 2016 ReportCompanion Animals NZ
  5. 6 most common cat health problemsPets.webmd
  6. Pre-existing conditions are excluded. Limits, sub-limits and annual condition limits may apply.

Get covered in minutes

Start protecting your pet in just a few minutes by getting a quick quote now or call 0800 812 0200800 812 020. We’re here Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm.