There’s no doubt that Americans love their pets. There are more than 76 million cats and 46 million dogs in the U.S. kept as pets, and that doesn’t even count all the other animals that people keep as pets, such as birds, rabbits, hamsters and reptiles. With all those pets, there’s going to be a lot of money spent on the various products and services that are specifically for pets.
Of course, if you have a pet, you have to feed it regularly. What type of pet you have and how big it is is going to determine how much you spend on food, but overall, Americans spend more than $20 billion as a whole on pet food every year. That’s a lot of kibble. That’s just a start to your pet-related spending, however.
Pets get sick and injured just as people so, and they also need regular checkups, just like people do. Taking your pet to the vet is not cheap. Americans spend nearly $14 billion a year on veterinary care. While your vet may prescribe medicine for your dog or cat, there also are various over-the-counter meds for pets. Spending on those meds and various other products and services for pets accounts for another $12.5 billion dollars annually.
If that’s not enough spending on animal care each year for pet owners, there is a new and growing niche: pet insurance. Pet insurance plans are very similar to health insurance for people. You pay premiums and then get some amount of coverage for veterinary care for your pets. Unlike human health insurance, however, the market for pet insurance is not well regulated, so there are a lot of plans that do not offer much in the way of coverage, and there are others that border on scams. That’s why it’s important to do your research, including reading pet insurance company reviews and talking to friends and family members who have used pet insurance. Though reading pet insurance company reviews and doing other research won’t ensure you don’t get ripped off, it will help reduce the chances.
If you are thinking about getting a pet, you should do your homework to get an idea of what kind of a financial commitment you are taking on to be sure it is something you can handle.