New study confirms pet owners' concerns about veterinary care costs

New study confirms pet owners' concerns about veterinary care costs

Some are skipping basic, recommended treatments—and 76 percent of pet owners are getting their diagnoses from Dr. Google.
Nov 01, 2013
By staff

The results of the Pet Healthonomics Survey may be self-serving—conducted by marketing online prescriptions and prescription cards for pets—but to veterinarians, the claim that three out of four pet owners are concerned about the costs of pet healthcare and their ability to afford care for their pets may be eye-opening.

A release by the company says the study reached more than 1,100 pet owners from 440 households and concludes that the cost of pet healthcare is dramatically influencing pet owners’ lives and lifestyles. Here’s how the numbers break down:

Owners’ commitments to pet healthcare

> 87 percent of respondents say they would be willing to cut back on eating out or going out to provide better healthcare for their pets.

> 82 percent would consider paying almost any amount of money to keep their pet healthy. Those respondents said they were willing to make a number of lifestyle sacrifices to fund care for a sick pet.

> 76 percent would tighten their belts to be more frugal on other household expenses.

> 71 percent would skip a vacation.

> 7 percent would be willing to move from their current home.

Cost-cutting measures: The study claims that nearly one in five pet owners has taken one of these cost-cutting steps: delayed buying a prescription, used less of a prescription than recommended, or declined to buy a medication their pet was prescribed.

> 27 percent of owners are skipping vet visits.

> 17 percent scale back on flea and tick protection.

> 13 percent on recommended vaccinations.

> 10 percent on prescriptions.

> 7 percent on heartworm protection.

Dogs versus cats

> 21 percent of dog-only owners said they have dialed back their veterinary visits due to cost.

> 35 percent of cat owners said they have.

> 43 percent of cat-only owners surveyed said they only went to the veterinarian when there was an active health issue.

> 67 percent do not take their cats in for a yearly checkup.

Preventive health

> 41 percent of pet owners report they have saved by learning more about preventative health.

> 22 percent report investing in preventative methods and well pet visits.

Annual costs

> On average, pet owners spend $611 per year per pet on healthcare expenses like vet visits, prescriptions, flea and tick protection and emergency care.

> Pet owners whose pets have a chronic condition spend an average of $935 per year per pet on healthcare.

Outside the clinic

> 38 percent of owners buy pet prescriptions online.

> 76 percent go to Google to find answers to their pet health related questions.