Who is Shopping for Pet Insurance?

While many modern pet owners refer to their pets as their children, that comparison isn’t just about the bond they share. It may also refer to the cost of caring for a pet. According to a new survey, 40% of pet parents believe that having a pet is just as – if not more – expensive than raising a child. 

The survey, conducted by OnePoll in partnership with MetLife, asked 2,000 dog and cat owners about their spending habits. The findings show that the average pet owner spend over $4,500 on their pet’s basic needs each year. 

"For many pet parents, their animals are more than just 'furry friends' — they are part of the family," said Katie Blakeley, vice president and head of pet insurance at MetLife. "However, with all the joys of having a pet also comes financial stress, as many pet parents are willing to take on almost any cost to ensure that their pets are happy and healthy."

Many pet owners try to be proactive about budgeting for their pets, with three in five allocating about $200 from each paycheck just for their pet’s necessities. The most repurchased and expensive items included food, toys, flea/tick treatments and medicine. 

However, most owners (61%) said that owning a pet is more expensive than they initially thought. Medical costs were one of the biggest culprits with approximately one-third of respondents stating that they often end up exceeding their budget by at least $500 whenever they go to the vet. The survey also found that, on average, expensive medications or treatments for pets are only $60 less than ones for their owners.

While about 70% of owners expect that their pet is most expensive in their youth, 74% are more worried about their pet’s health as they age. Most (62%) are concerned about their pet developing illnesses because they may not be able afford the costs of care. 

You can read the report’s full findings here