To fight against the loneliness caused by quarantine, more Americans have adopted pets than ever before. Pet ownership in the US rose to 70% in 2020, and over half of newly adopted pets went to first time pet owners. While adopting a pet can be a joyous occasion for a household, it can also be a major expense. There is a lot more that goes into the cost of owning a pet beyond startup costs, food, and basic necessities. The first year of dog ownership ranges from $1,314 to $1,843, depending on the size of the dog. After the first year, however, annual expenses tend to fall dramatically.
Pet spending is a large industry in the United States. In 2020, the industry hit $103.6 billion. The two largest drivers of such spending are food and treats ($42 billion) and veterinary care and products ($31 billion). Unexpected vet bills resulting from accidents and injuries are the most common driver of high pet care costs.
Aside from the costs of pet ownership that we have already discussed above, it’s important to establish a rainy day fund for the chance your pet may become injured or ill. Even taking the utmost care of our pets, some medical events still happen. The three most expensive pet illnesses include poisoning, torn ACL, and cancer treatment. Proactive pet care is one way to ease these cost burdens. Keeping your home safe for pets, providing regular dental and flea/tick care, and making annual visits to the vet are great ways to keep your pet healthy.
Pet insurance can also be a boon for owners. Coverage varies by type of pet and extent of care, from routine maintenance to accident/disease care. 3.1 million pets in the US are covered by health insurance.