Pets are always there for us. In an effort to bring you the most accurate information possible so you can make the right decisions for you and your pet, we’ve put in over 50 hours of research compiling the most relevant information on pet health and ownership and their associated costs. If you want to do right by your fur baby, read on!
Common Pet Health Issues
There are many considerations to pet ownership, including accidents. For example American Humane, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, estimates that 232,000 pets are poisoned annually in the U.S. Your pet may also be genetically predisposed or susceptible to various medical issues.
- The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 50 million dogs are overweight or obese.
- Kansas State University found that at a national level, 34% of dogs are infected with gastrointestinal parasites; in southern states, that number is roughly 1.5 times higher at around 54%.
- The Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego states that approximately 20% of dogs have some form of ear disease.
- In a study last updated in 2021, Cornell University revealed that roughly 2.5% to 5% of healthy cats are infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus. However, if already immunocompromised or otherwise unhealthy, that number can be between three and six times higher, at 15%.
- Cornell also reported that the feline leukemia virus affects 2% to 3% of all cats.
- The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 56 million cats are overweight or obese.
The Pandemic Pet Effect
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, lots of folks turned to their pets for companionship or even brought new ones into their home:
- In a 2020 study, Washington State University revealed that 70% of respondents said their pet decreased feelings of loneliness.
- Of those surveyed by the American Pet Products Association, 15% reported acquiring a new pet since the beginning of the pandemic
More people own pets than ever before:
- Statista and the American Pet Products Association say that 70% of American households own one or more pets
- Pet ownership increased by approximately 3.5% from 67% in 2019
- Statista found that the millennial demographic group represented the largest proportion of pet owners, composing 32%
|Breakdown of Pet Owners by Demographic Group||%|
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs are the most popular type of pet, followed by cats
|Pet Ownership by Species||%|
Readiness for Emergencies
If your furry friend seems to pick the worst times possible to get sick or hurt, it's more likely that you aren't well prepared — and you're not alone. According to a May 2021 Federal Reserve report on Americans' economic well-being, roughly a third of Americans can't afford an emergency:
- Some 36% of Americans revealed they couldn’t cover an emergency of $400 or more with cash
- Another 15% stated they would have to use a credit card, incurring interest
Average Cost of Treatment
It's no secret that veterinary care can be expensive. The American Pet Products Association estimates that pet owners spent $34.3 billion on vet care and products in 2021. Even when talking about routine, pre-planned visits, veterinary care doesn't come cheap.
Annual Medical Costs
|Routine Medical Costs||$225||$160|
|Initial Medical Costs||$300||$150|
Naturally, emergencies can set you back even more. Preventive Vet, a blog run by a team of accredited veterinarians estimates that:
- An ER exam can cost between $100 and $200
- Basic blood tests could set you back anywhere between $80 and $200
- Imaging can cost as little as $150 for an X-ray or as much as $600 for an ultrasound
- Hospitalization can cost as little as $600 for one day or as much as $3,500 for five days
- Emergency surgery can set you back as much as $5,000
The Average Cost of Insurance
Given the unpredictable nature of pet-related expenses and how much they can add up, it could be sensible to consider taking out pet insurance.
- Monthly premiums average $50 for dogs and $28 for cats
- Plans typically reimburse 70% to 90% of covered expenses
- Several premium discounts are available, such as discounts for enrolling multiple pets or paying annually
- With a broad choice of providers available, finding an option that fits your budget and works for you and your pet is incredibly easy
Adoption Rate of Pet Insurance
Considering the cost of treatment, its unpredictable nature, and the comparative affordability of insurance, the amount of people who actually insure their pets is comparatively small. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association reports only 4.4 million pets were insured in 2021. Compared with the number of pet owners, this number is staggeringly small, representing only 4.9%.
If you learned anything by reading this post, feel free to share it with a fellow pet enthusiast in your life!