Americans Spend More Than $13 Billion a Year on Pet Health Care

by Lakshmi Gopal on  September 8, 2011 at 9:10 PM Health Insurance News
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One out of every 10 dog or cat owners in the US is willing to spend more than $3,000 on medical procedures for life-saving medications/procedures for his pet. A recent survey, conducted by The Kroger Company on behalf of its personal finance division, came out with the report.
 Americans Spend More Than $13 Billion a Year on Pet Health Care
Americans Spend More Than $13 Billion a Year on Pet Health Care

Kroger is one of America's most popular retailers of pet foods, pet medicines and other pet-related products. It helps provide for the care of pets. KPF Insurance Services LLC, an affiliate of The Kroger Co., has partnered with PetFirst Healthcare to offer pet insurance underwritten by American Alternative Insurance Corporation.

A majority of pet owners (61%) Kroger surveyed said they would be willing to spend between $100 and $1,000 to save Fluffy or Fido's life. Another 15 per cent is comfortable spending between $1,000 and $3,000 for life-saving medical care for their pet.

"Determining how much we are willing or able to spend to sustain the life of a pet is a decision none of us ever wants to make, but given the rising cost of pet health care, it's often an inevitable one," said Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Colorado-based veterinarian and author. "Even for young pets, planning ahead and budgeting for the costs of pet health care, including cat and dog insurance, can help you feel more prepared when facing a serious health situation with your pet."

When asked what they fear most about their pet's well-being, about one in four of dog owners said cancer (27%), followed by hip/knee/leg injury (17%) and getting hit by a car (16%). The biggest concern for cat owners was kidney disease (19%), cancer (17%) and injuries sustained by fights with other animals (10%).

Only a small percentage of the pet owners surveyed by Kroger said they have pet insurance - 4 per cent of dog owners and 2 per cent of cat owners. However, 61 per cent of dog owners and 48 per cent of cat owners said they would consider purchasing pet insurance if it costs under $20 per month.

Interestingly, at least half of pet owners (55% with dogs/51% with cats) would be interested in adding their pets to their own health insurance plans, if such a thing were allowed.

"Americans spend more than $13 billion a year on pet health care," Dr. Coates said. "Veterinary care has become increasingly more sophisticated and expensive, with some life-saving treatments running as high as $5,000 or more. Those potential out-of-pocket costs are what make pet insurance a prudent investment. And from an emotional standpoint, pet insurance keeps owners from having to ask that dreaded question, 'how much can I spend to keep my pet alive?'"

The online survey was conducted in April of more than 300 adults ages 18 and older who own at least a cat or a dog.

Source: Medindia

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