The Pulse

Pet Owners Spend More On Their Pets' Health Than... Their Own?

… and they’re willing to go into debt for their pets as well

A new study from LendEdu takes a snapshot of how pets impact American’s personal finances. Read the entire report here.

People in the United States care a lot about their pets. Whether it be a dog, cat, hamster, turtle, or even a snake, Americans spend quite a bit on their pets. So much so that total spending on pets increased by $3 billion from 2017 to 2018, with a record-breaking high of $72 billion spent on pets in 2018.

Pet insurance is becoming more popular with pet owners, but many are not sure if it’s worth the cost. Pet insurance policies have been increasing in numbers as well, with 2.1 million pets being insured in 2017, which was up 17% from 2016. These numbers got LendEDU to thinking. Would people go into debt for their pets, or spend more money on their pets than themselves? We were curious about those questions and many more, so we decided to look into it ourselves.

LendEDU ran a survey polling 1,000 adult American pet owners to see just how much people spend on their pets, with or without pet insurance.

Full Survey Results

(All results derive from an online survey of 1,000 adult Americans that currently own a single pet.)

(1) What type of pet do you own?

  • 72% of respondents answered “Dog”
  • 22% of respondents answered “Cat”
  • 1% of respondents answered “Bird”
  • 1% of respondents answered “Guinea Pig / Hamster / Rabbit”
  • 3% of respondents answered “Fish”
  • 1% of respondents answered “Reptile (e.g. turtle, lizard, snake, etc.)

(2) How much do you estimate you spend per month on your pet including things like monthly health care costs, insurance cost, food, toys & accessories, etc.?

  • “Reptile” owners answered an average of $56.88
  • “Guinea Pig / Hamster / Rabbit” owners answered an average of $63.64
  • “Fish” owners answered an average of $53.60
  • “Cat” owners answered an average of $95.11
  • “Bird” owners answered an averaged of $127.38
  • “Dog” owners answered an averaged of $157.39

(3) What percent of your estimated monthly pet expenditure goes to things like veterinary costs, health costs, and pet insurance costs?

  • Respondents answered an average of 24%

(4) What percent of your estimated monthly pet expenditure goes to food costs?

  • Respondents answered an average of 55%

(5) What percent of your estimated monthly pet expenditure goes to toys & accessories?

  • Respondents answered an average of 13%

(6) What percent of your estimated monthly pet expenditure goes to other things for your pet?

  • Respondents answered an average of 8%

(7) Do you have pet insurance for your animal?

  • 39% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 61% of respondents answered “No”

 

Average Monthly Spending On Pets

 

(8 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q7) How much do you pay monthly for your pet insurance?

  • Respondents answered an average of $76.76

(9 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q7) Has your pet insurance ever come in handy for emergency expenses like surgery or recurring treatments?

  • 77% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 19% of respondents answered “No”
  • 4% of respondents answered “I’d rather not say”

(10 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q7 & “Yes” to Q9) How much would the expense have cost if you did not have a pet insurance policy?

  • Respondents answered an average of $1,458.03

(11 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q7) Do you think pet insurance is worth it?

  • 88% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 5% of respondents answered “No”
  • 7% of respondents answered “I’m not sure”

(12 – Asked only to those who answered “No” to Q7) Are you aware of pet insurance policies?

  • 56% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 44% of respondents answered “No”

(13 – Asked only to those who answered “No” to Q7) Which of the following best describes the reason why you have not purchased pet insurance?

  • 12% of respondents answered “My pet was/is too old when I became aware of the policies.”
  • 3% of respondents answered “My pet has a preexisting condition and was denied coverage.”
  • 40% of respondents answered “I thought the policies cost too much.”
  • 39% of respondents answered “Did not think my pet needed/needs insurance.”
  • 6% of respondents answered “Other”

(14 – Asked only to those who answered “No” to Q7) Have you ever had to pay a large pet-related expense (like surgery or treatment) out of pocket?

  • 39% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 61% of respondents answered “No”

(15 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q14) How much did you have to pay out of pocket for the large pet-related expense?

  • Respondents answered an average of $1,021.59

(16) What was the purchase price of your pet?

  • Reptile owners answered with an average of $78.12
  • Guinea pig/hamster/rabbit owners answered with an average of $53.58
  • Fish owners answered with an average of $57.38
  • Cat owners answered with an average of $89.89
  • Bird owners answered with an average of $127.38
  • Dog owners answered with an average of $327.13

(17) Have you ever gone into, or are currently in, credit card or personal loan debt because of your pet due to health/veterinarian costs that could have come from an emergency surgery or recurring treatments?

  • 24% of respondents answered “Yes”
  • 72% of respondents answered “No”
  • 4% of respondents answered “I’d rather not say”

(18 – Asked only to those who answered “Yes” to Q17) How much credit or personal loan debt did you go into as a result of health/veterinarian costs that could have come from an emergency surgery or recurring treatments?

  • Respondents answered an average of $1,566.96

(19) Have you ever had to delay any of the following milestones due to expense from your pet? (Select all that are applicable)

  • 11% of respondent answers were “Having children or more children”
  • 8% of respondent answers were “Getting married”
  • 8% of respondent answers were “Buying or renting a home or apartment”
  • 10% of respondent answers were “Missed bill payments”
  • 7% of respondent answers were “Made smaller payments to student loan or credit card debt than you would have liked”
  • 6% of respondent answers were “Buying or leasing a car”
  • 5% of respondent answers were “Getting an insurance policy (life, health, auto, etc.)”
  • 2% of respondent answers were “Other”
  • 43% of respondent answers were “None of the above”

(20) As an estimate, do you spend more annually on your pet’s health care expenses or own personal health care expenses?

  • 24% of respondents answered “I spend more on my pet’s health care than my own.”
  • 46% of respondents answered “I spend more on my personal health care expenses than my pet’s.”
  • 22% of respondents answered “It is about the same.”
  • 8% of respondents answered “Prefer not to say”

 

Read the full report here.