Studies have shown that pets can indeed make you happier. They can improve your mental health, and animal therapy has been increasing in popularity. According to a poll by Harris, 95% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family. Given how much we love our pets, we’ll want to take good care of them.
The quarantines of 2020 left many Americans longing for connection. For some, this meant adopting a pet for the first time. In 2020, pet ownership in the US reached 70%, an all time high. More than half of these newly adopted pets went to first-time pet owners. This is wonderful news for pets in need of a home, but new owners need to be aware of the costs they can face down the line.
The first year of pet ownership is often the most expensive. It includes a lot of one time expenses like spaying/neutering, training, vaccinations, and a crate. After the first year, annual costs decline by an average greater than 50%. Even still, pet expenses are immense. Last year, the US pet industry hit a whopping $103.6 billion. The largest 2 categories are pet food and treats ($42 billion) and veterinary care and products ($31 billion). Unexpected vet bills due to accidents and injuries are the most common driver of high pet costs.
Everyday accidents like accidental poisoning and a torn ACL can lead to thousands in vet bills. A great way to mitigate against unexpected veterinary bills is to be proactive with your pet and keep them healthy. Be one of the 80% of pet owners to seek annual vet visits. Stay on top of dental care and parasite prevention as well. Another avenue to consider is purchasing pet insurance.
Pet insurance can be a great investment for certain owners. It is its own expense, however, costing Americans $2 billion in premiums for 2020. The vast majority of insured pets are dogs, as most of the major providers only cover dogs and (sometimes) cats. Coverage ranges from general wellness to accident or illness protection. Consider whether insurance is the right investment in your pet’s health.