Pet care costs underestimated by many owners

The sage advice of veterinarians can help clients anticipate and plan for unexpected expenses

While most owners love their pet like a family member, the lifetime cost of caring for a dog or cat remains misunderstood by many. Photo ©BigStockPhoto.comThe lifetime cost of caring for a dog or cat remains misunderstood by many owners.

This is according to a survey of 1,200 pet owners and 100 veterinarians, conducted by financial services company, Synchrony. Nearly half of pet-owning respondents acknowledged they had “underestimated” the lifetime cost of their companion animal’s care, which ranges from $20,000 to $55,000 for dogs and $15,000 to $45,000 for cats.

Additionally, approximately half of all pet owners who thought they were financially ready for unexpected pet expenses reported they were not.

“Millions of Americans choose to share life with a pet, yet the true cost of ownership has historically been incredibly vague,” says Jonathan Wainberg, senior vice president and general manager of Synchrony’s pet division. “Our study serves as a helpful tool to prepare prospective pet parents.”

The research, which was conducted on behalf of the company’s pet-related financial groups, CareCredit and Pets Best Pet Insurance, considered an exhaustive list potential costs, including first-year expenses (e.g. spaying/neutering, vaccinations, pet supplies), food, pet insurance, and end-of-life care.

The study revealed that, in the first year of ownership, dogs can cost owners anywhere from $1,300 to $2,800, while first-year cat care is approximately $960 to $2,500.

“Veterinarians often see pet parents struggling to balance the care their pet needs with what they can afford,” says PAW Consulting owner, Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA. “This new study provides us a comprehensive look at the true costs of pet care so we can arm our clients with the information and financial solutions they need to care for their pets for a month, year, and an entire lifetime.”

To view the complete “Lifetime of Care” study, click here.

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