Have you ever thought about how much a pet really costs? There’s food and toys, of course, but also vet visits, training, grooming, and hours and hours of your time.
At least two-thirds of Americans bought or already owned pets in 2018, and they spent around $75 billion on them throughout the year, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
The most costly aspect of pet ownership is feeding them, which cost Americans about $30.32 million in 2018, with veterinary visits, which cost about $18.02 million, coming in second. These are both justifiable costs for any pet owner; it’s hard to imagine properly caring for a pet without them, but that’s before ancillary expenses like vaccines, treats, and sitters are even considered.
“A pet is a big commitment and requires resources on multiple fronts: time-wise, financially and emotionally,” Kristen Euretig, a certified financial planner at Brooklyn Plans, told the New York Post.
Pet parents that have not accounted for these expenses may find themselves in a tough spot, quickly.
“Even rescues are $300 to $500 to complete paperwork and get the dog, which was something I didn’t realize,” she said about adopting her rescue dog Sato years back. “There are also some costs you can’t anticipate, like I had to get all new shoes the first year because our dog destroyed them all when teething.”
The APPA data shows that people are keeping their pets longer, perhaps owing to higher standards of care and better food. It’s also clear that pets have become a more popular purchase among younger generations.
“Millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic and this shows in the data,” said APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere. “We know this generation is willing to pay more for quality products and services to improve the health and well-being of their pets. Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives, and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”
No matter your age, no pet can be simply reduced to a net expense. Animal companionship provides us with many benefits, not the least of which are friendship, decreased stress, and longer and happier lives.
“Scientific research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) shows that the bond formed between people and their pets yields valid health benefits to both pets and their owners,” Vetere said. “It’s a partnership; if you take care of your pets’ health, they’re going to take care of yours.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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