Pets played an important part in the COVID-19 pandemic. When millions of Americans were cut off from their human friends, they turned to furry ones as a way to stave off loneliness. As a result, pet ownership in the US rose to 70%, the highest it has ever been. More than half of all newly adopted pets went to first-time pet owners. Let’s learn some tips on pet parenting below.
For these new pet owners, there are a lot of costs to navigate. To use dogs as an example, the first year of owning a dog tends to be twice as expensive as subsequent years. This is because there are a lot of upfront costs to be incurred, such as getting the dog spayed or neutered, having the dog trained, giving the dog their initial vaccinations, and making sure the dog has a crate to sleep in. These costs typically only arise in the first year. Yet even after that, Americans still spend a lot of money on their pets.
The Pet Industry is Booming
In 2020, the US pet industry hit a whopping $103.6 billion. That value is expected to rise to $109.6 billion in 2021. The two main drivers of pet spending are food and treats, at $42 billion, followed by veterinary care and products, at $31 billion. While food is the higher amount, people tend to anticipate this cost more and incur it regularly. On the other hand, vet bills can be extremely high unexpectedly. Indeed, unplanned vet bills due to accidents or injuries are the most common driver of high pet care costs.
It’s bad enough if your pet is injured or sick. How can you avoid the problem of high vet bills altogether? While not all accidents are avoidable, a pet’s health can be maintained through a series of proactive measures. 80% of pet owners bring their pets to the veterinarian at least once a year. Make this a conscious practice in your life so you can spot health issues in your pet early. In addition to regular checkups, brushing your pet’s teeth or bringing them to have dental cleanings will go a long way in the long term. Regularly apply flea and tick prevention to your pet, and keep toxic houseplants and other hazardous materials out of their reach. First time pet owners may not know what can poison their pet, so it’s important you do research before bringing your furry friend home.
The Role of Pet Insurance
Another useful tool for keeping vet bills down is pet insurance. A total of 3.1 million pets are covered by pet insurance, 83% of the insured pets being dogs. Having pet insurance comes with a lot of benefits. The basics of pet insurance coverage include wellness – routine care, dental cleaning, bloodwork, vaccinations, and checkups. More involved plans cost higher annual premiums, but they can protect you from bearing the cost of more serious vet procedures. Accident only, for example, covers foreign body ingestions, vehicle accidents, poisoning, and more. An accident and illness plan includes coverage for cancer, infections, and digestive issues.
Learn more about how to be a responsible pet parent below: