Pet owners shying away from veterinary care, according to two new reports

Pet owners shying away from veterinary care, according to two new reports

Mar 10, 2012
By staff
National Report — Two new reports indicate that pet owners may be shying away from veterinary hospitals to save money. But pet owners are shelling it out for pet services and over-the-counter medications.

In a new report from Brakke Consulting and The Pert Group, veterinarians are credited with being “key influencers and the primary channel for pet products.” But the 1,200 cat and dog owners that completed the survey admitted they visited a veterinarian nearly 20 percent less than they did in 2007, if they went at all. The study notes that 77 percent of survey respondents reported visiting a veterinarian in 2011, compared with 88 percent in 2007.

Spending by cat owners was down in all categories, according to the Brakke/Pert report. The new survey noted a 28 percent drop in spending on heartworm preventives, and a 23 percent drop in spending on dentistry. Flea and tick control for cats dropped 20 percent too.

In the pet channel, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) released its new annual survey, declaring that pet spending reached an all-time high of $50.96 billion in 2011.

According to APPA, the pet services market grew the most at 7.9 percent from 2010 to 2011, capturing $3.79 billion in pet spending. Veterinary services ranked second in terms of total pet spending with $13.41 billion spent in 2011, which was up by 2.9 percent.

Supplies and over-the-counter medications also saw great growth in 2011 with a 7.6 percent increase over 2010, bringing total spending in that category to $11.77 billion, according to APPA. The study attributed the growth in 2011 to increased use of OTC medications by pet owners as a way to find alternatives to veterinary care.