People and pets have a close bond, a bond that has grown stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic. The depth of sentiment is so great that 80% of pet owners consider their pets family, according to a study by the American Veterinarian Medical Association.
So it’s no surprise that when ConsumerAffairs asked pet owners across the country if they would go into debt to pay for the medical care their pet needed, 78% said they would. would do. The survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey, also asked about pet consumption habits, from food to grooming.
Here is what we found:
50% of respondents would use a credit card to pay for a pet’s medical crisis.
Millennials were the most likely to go into debt for their pets.
22% of respondents were willing to spend $5,000 or more for a pet emergency.
The numbers break down as follows: almost half (43%) of respondents said yes, they would go into debt for their pets. Another 35% said they would consider it.
While millennials are the most likely to incur “pet debt,” baby boomers and Gen Xers are also attached to their pets and have indicated a willingness to fund health care for pets.
Without a good pet health insurance policy, emergency care for a pet can be very expensive. Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, veterinary medical advisor for Rover, tells us that an ER visit for a simple eye infection would cost up to $200. Other seemingly “routine” treatments start even higher.
In an age where the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and most emergency expenses cost upwards of $400, taking your dog or cat to the vet for an injury or illness makes indebtedness much more likely.
The ConsumerAffairs survey also revealed that pet owners spend 20% of their budget on health care. The biggest expense – 69% of the budget – pays for food and treats.
“Constantly underestimating the cost”
“I find that pet owners consistently underestimate the cost of veterinary care, especially in unexpected emergency situations,” Greenstein told us.
She said pet owners should have an emergency fund to pay for emergencies, noting that if blood tests or x-rays are needed, the bill can easily top $1,000.
Having a pet health insurance policy can also help, but policies can vary widely, depending on what they cover and don’t cover. The ConsumerAffairs research team has ranked some of the top policies and companies here.