Pet parents say they have become more responsible after caring for their four-legged friends
One in three people believe their pet will make them a better parent someday, new research indicates.
However, as a recent survey of 2,000 American cat and dog owners showed, pet ownership can come with a lot of anxieties and expenses — just as child-rearing can.
For example, the typical pet owner spends $176 on initial supplies and adoption fees to bring their furry friend home, and another $111 per month.
That adds up to a whopping $13,320 in 10 years, the average lifespan of most dogs and cats.
As with a human child, pet parents also spend a lot of time worrying about their four-legged friend. Over 45% actively worry that their pet might get sick or hurt, while another 33% worry their pet may be unhappy.
The survey, which was conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by AskVet, also found that pet parents trust veterinary professionals the most — but are hesitant to pay for related medical bills.
Ninety percent of those polled will call their veterinarian when their pet displays some kind of odd or unusual behavior, but only 79% will actually schedule an appointment to visit that vet.
In fact, almost a quarter of all respondents (24%) said they don’t take their pets to the vet unless they know something is wrong.
Overall, millennials (25–40) wait the longest to call a vet when something seems wrong with their pet — an average of nine days, compared to six days for Gen Z (18–24) and Gen X (41–55) and only three days for boomers (57+).
Another 44% said they’ll research their pet’s health online when they think something’s wrong — spending 394 hours total over the course of a decade.
“Pet parents often wait too long to manage their pet’s wellness,” said Cait Pluto, Senior VP of Marketing at AskVet. “The right pet lifestyle choices lead to better health outcomes, lower veterinary costs, longer lifespans and more joy for pets and their parents. Pet parents can use virtual wellness care to manage that healthy pet lifestyle.”
The desire for ongoing pet care makes sense — after all, 48% of pet parents think caring for their furry friend has made them a more responsible person.
Ninety-one percent also said they are interested in managing their pet’s ongoing wellness more holistically and appreciate expert guidance through the journey.
“It’s hard to care for any living thing that can’t tell you what it’s feeling, whether it’s a puppy, a newborn or even a houseplant,” added Pluto. “That’s why it’s so important to have veterinary resources you can trust to provide you with personalized, proactive guidance instead of resorting to online searches and unqualified advice.”
Ultimately, one in three (33%) respondents believe their pets are a reflection of them as people — including those who bought their pet for their kids, like 56% of the survey’s parents did.
In fact, 51% of those parents said that even though they didn’t want a pet at first, they now can’t imagine life without one.
PET OWNER’S TOP FIVE BIGGEST FEARS
That their pet will get hurt (46%)
That their pet will get sick (45%)
That their pet is unhappy (33%)
That their pet will get lost (31%)
That their pet will hurt someone (26%)
TOP FIVE THINGS PEOPLE CALL THEIR PET
“Boy” or “girl” (36%)
“Fur baby” (26%)
“Son” or “daughter” (23%)
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