《TAIPEI TIMES》Pet owners spend big each year: survey
Two dogs are pushed in a pet stroller in Taipei in an undated photograph. Photo: New Taipei City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office
EXPENSIVE FUR CHILD: Forty-one percent of the average was spent on food, with 16 percent going to medical costs and 10 percent to grooming, a TIER survey showed
By Yang Yuan-ting and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A survey commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture found that pet owners in Taiwan spend an average of NT$28,081 （US$892.16） annually on their pets.
The Taiwan Institute of Economic Research （TIER）, which conducted the survey, predicted that the number of pets in Taiwan would exceed the number of dependent children by 2027, and that the market for pet-related products and services would continue to grow annually.
Of the costs related to pet ownership, the main expenditure is food, which accounts for 41 percent. That is followed by medical treatment and checkups, accounting for 16 percent, and grooming, which accounts for 10 percent, according to the results of the survey, — which were released during an international pet forum on Friday last week in Taipei.
Ministry statistics from 2021 showed there were 1.24 million pet dogs and 870,000 pet cats in Taiwan that year.
According to the survey, 71 percent of pet owners were women, and 52 percent of pet owners were single or childless. Additionally, 40 percent of pet owners have had their pet for 10 years or more.
The output value of pet-related industries nationwide has already exceeded NT$50 billion, the ministry’s Department of Animal Industry head Chen Chung-hsing （陳中興） said.
“With the pet market booming, many owners are also concerned about where their pet dogs and cats come from,” he said. “Therefore, we’ve made comprehensive information about pet cat and dog registration records publicly available.”
Chen said that with the growing number of pets, one concern is what would happen to dogs and cats if their owner dies, adding that the ministry is developing measures to address the issue.
As pet ownership goes up, there would be a rise in emerging industries such as pet insurance and pet memorial services, TIER researcher Liu Yi-chen （劉依蓁） said, adding that those emerging industries would need ministry guidance.
Of the NT$8 billion spent on pet food last year, NT$600 million was for health food, she said.
Japan Pet Food Association president Hiromitsu Kodama, who attended the forum, said that based on trends in Japan — where the birthrate is also declining and the population is aging, like in Taiwan — Taiwan is likely to see dog ownership decline.
However, despite that decline, the market for pet snacks would still have potential room for growth, he said.