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Are you a ‘crazy pet parent’? Welcome to the club

Bearded guy playing with kitten

Pets bring you so much love and joy – so it’s natural that some of us get a little carried away when it comes to our adorable fur babies. Do your friends know more about your cat than they do about your significant other? Does your dog have its own Instagram account? Of course they do. Welcome to the ‘crazy pet parents’ club.

Those loving, devoted pet parents among us are far from alone. In fact, new Medibank research(*1) shows almost 5 million(*2) Australians are the overzealous ‘Helicopter Parent’ when it comes to their pets, with 43% of owners admitting they worry about their pet a little too much.

Released today as part of #LoveMyRescue, the research found that alongside the ‘Helicopter Parent’, other leading pet-owner personalities included the superfit ‘Training Partner’ (27%), the rescue-friendly ‘Saviour’ (22%) and the snap-happy ‘Stage Mum’ (7%).

Our pets and us

59% of pet owners revealed their furry friends sleep in bed with them, and 50% refer to themselves as their pet’s ‘mum’ or ‘dad’.

More than one in 10 of us push our pets into Insta-fame(*3) – setting up social media profiles(*4) and photo shoots for our beloved companions(*5).

Interestingly, these ‘Stage Mums’ are actually more likely to be ‘Stage Dads’ – with almost 500,000 Aussie men in this category (137,000 more than women) (*6). Male pet owners are also twice as likely to spend money on pet pageants(*7). Showing their ‘soft side’, 38% of males also confessed to speaking to their pets in a baby voice.

Almost a third of a million(*8) Aussies even said they carry their precious pooches around in a pram or purse – with males and females equally guilty of the habit.

Michelle Bridges, Medibank Ambassador and owner of rescue dog Paddy says, “It’s clear that as a nation, we’re a colourful bunch of pet owners, each with our own interesting – and at times amusing – habits! And while the research reveals most Aussie pets are living it up, it’s important to remember there are still thousands of rescue animals across the country waiting to find their forever home.”

Animals needing homes post-Christmas

With thousands of animals needing homes at this time of year, the data revealed how prevalent pet gifting is in Australia. Despite three in four(*9) Aussies agreeing that pet gifting is wrong, one in five (20%) have given or know someone who has given a pet as a gift, and of those, 22% admit the gifted pets have had to be given away.

Animal Welfare League NSW Senior Behaviourist Rosalie Horton says, “Tens of thousands of cats and dogs are currently in rescue shelters and pounds across the country, waiting to be adopted.

“Due to such high numbers, sadly many of them struggle to find a loving home, even though they would make wonderful, loyal companions. That’s why we’re encouraging anyone who’s thinking about getting a pet to save a life and make it a rescue, instead of going down the traditional pet purchasing route.”

Get free Medibank pet insurance for a rescue animals

While the majority (86%) of Aussies say they’d consider adopting a rescue pet, only 30% actually have one. To make pet adoption that little bit easier and encourage Aussies considering a pet to make it a rescue, Medibank Pet Insurance has launched #LoveMyRescue – offering three months of free pet insurance to anyone adopting a cat or dog.

Find out more at

*1. ‘Pets’ refers to dogs and/or cats
*2. 4,978,000 Australian pet owners
*3. 13% of male pet owners and 11% of female pet owners
*4. 5% of male pet owners and 4% of female pet owners
*5. 9% of male pet owners and 8% of female pet owners
*6. 486,000 male pet owners compared to 349,000 female pet owners
*7. 4% of males vs 2% of females
*8. 330,000 Australians
*9. 13%

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