last several years, pets have come to be viewed more and more as family members
— just take a look at some of the stories in The New York Times, Time, or The Wall Street Journal. Stories abound of
families spending tens of thousands on medical treatments for their pets,
something that would have been extremely rare in years past (both because of
constraints to veterinary medicine at the time, and different opinions on the
place of a pet in the family).
are skyrocketing faster. Over the past five years, the annual costs for caring
for a dog have increased 15% to $1,649, and for cats, annual costs have jumped
28% to $1,271, according to the American Pet Products Association. Over
this same time period, median US household income declined 7.5%. What’s a
parent on a budget to do?
nationwide in the fall of 2013 and found that 3 out of 4 pet parents are
concerned about the rising costs of pet healthcare and their ability to afford
care for their pets. The full findings of the PetCareRx Pet Healthonomics reportcan be found here, but here are some eye-opening stats:
- The #1 pet parent fear is that a “pet will
suffer from a chronic or acute illness.”
- 35% of pet parents are cutting back on or
skipping vet visits in order to save money. Veterinary visits are the spending area most
likely to be affected by income level.
- 12% of pet parents have taken one of these
potentially dangerous steps to save money: delayed buying a recommended
prescription, split pills or used less of a prescription than recommended, or
declined to buy a prescription for their pet.
- Pet owners whose pets have a chronic condition
spend an average of $935 per year per pet on healthcare expenses. That’s a 53%
increase over the average, and some pet parents are paying much, much more —
into five figures for pets with very serious conditions like cancer.
say they have saved money by learning more about preventative health and
say they are taking steps with their veterinarian to invest in preventative
take advantage of the lower prices on pet medications online.
Google their pet health questions to find answers and information online.
Reports, the premiums are generally not worth it. Indeed, the
Pet Healthonomics report revealed that the most common reason pet parents don’t
insurance is because they’re not sure paying the premiums will end up being
worth the investment. Exclusions for pre-existing conditions and much higher
premiums for older pets are often barriers.
options: solutions like buying medications from reputable online pharmacies can
make a big difference in pet parents’ financial situations. Alternatives to
insurance are coming as well: PetPlus is the first membership plan for pets to
offer medications at extremely low prices.
your family? How much would you be willing to spend on emergency or supportive
care? What tactics do you use to save money but still care for your pets?