NEW YORK (StudyFinds.org) — Most pet owners spare no expense when it comes to their furry family members. In fact, the average pet owner spends more than $4,500 on their pet’s basic needs every year, according to a new poll.
Two in five pet parents agree that having a pet is just as, if not more, expensive than raising a child. In fact, 61 percent confirm that having a pet is more costly than they initially thought.
The survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners looked at their spending habits regarding their furry companions and found that half of respondents spend more money on their pets every year than they do on themselves (52%).
The pricy life of being a pet parent
Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with MetLife for Pet Wellness Month, the survey also finds that three in five pet parents specifically allocate about $200 from each paycheck just for their pet’s necessities.
Unsurprisingly, food ranks first on the list of both the most repurchased and expensive pet items, followed by toys, flea or tick treatments, and medicine. Being a pet parent can also come with surprises, too — 27 percent didn’t expect that they’d have to invest in stain and odor removers. Another 26 percent had no idea that a pet first aid kit would come in handy.
Overall, taking care of their pet’s health isn’t cheap, as one-third of pet parents usually end up exceeding their budget by at least $500 whenever they take their pet to the vet. Pet parents average that expensive medications for their pets are only $60 less than ones for themselves. Still, 74 percent feel cost doesn’t matter — as long as they can make sure their pet is healthy, happy, and safe.
Pet parenthood can be as stressful as it is expensive!
It’s no surprise that pet parents want to do the most to ensure their pet’s health, especially since they’re likely to worry when they aren’t with them an average of three times a week. Additionally, more than half of respondents worry about their pet’s health more than their own (58%).
“For many pet parents, their animals are more than just ‘furry friends’ – they are part of the family,” says Katie Blakeley, vice president and head of pet insurance at MetLife, in a statement. “However, with all the joys of having a pet also comes financial stress, as many pet parents are willing to take on almost any cost to ensure that their pets are happy and healthy.”
Finding financial peace of mind with aging pets
Although seven in 10 expect that their pet is most expensive to care for in their younger years, 74 percent of people worry more about their furry friend’s health and how they’ll recover as they age. The top health concerns are over their pet’s mobility issues (43%) or cancer risk (39%).
Despite these fears, the poll also finds many pet owners know very little about the options they have to insure their pets and manage the financial expense of caring for an aging companion. In fact, one in three pet parents say they know less about pet health insurance than they do about paying taxes or fixing a car.
“Pet insurance is a powerful resource for any pet parent to consider. By providing income protection in the event of accidental injury or illness, pet insurance helps pet parents consider the health of their furry friend – not the cost of their care – first. Pet parents should feel empowered to talk to their employer about what options are available, and if pet insurance is right for them,” Blakeley adds.