Pet Care Costs Putting Some in Debt
Americans spend a significant amount to care for their pets. An estimate by the American Pet Products Association predicts that Americans will spend $50 billion on pet care in 2011. The estimate includes the cost of food, supplies, medicine, grooming, boarding, and veterinary services. Unexpected medical care causes the most problems financially for pet owners. Many Americans are willing to put their finances at risk to care for their pets. For example, Betsy Lampe, a Florida woman, went into debt to pay for treatment for her dog’s renal disease. Lampe was also struggling to pay bills from her own kidney cancer.
There are a few ways to avoid huge vet bills. Fees for medical procedures and medications can vary widely. Therefore, comparing the costs of different veterinarians is a good idea. Additionally, pet insurance can save owners a significant amount in medical costs. The average monthly insurance premium for dogs is $30 and $17 for cats. According to a representative from Petplan, a pet insurance company, his company has reimbursed some policyholders over $40,000 for pet care. Without insurance, these pet owners would have gone into significant debt paying for their pet’s medical care. Many veterinarians also work with companies to offer payment plans with no interest. Experts recommend pet owners save at least $500 to pay for unexpected medical care.
Erica Sandberg, Pet Debt: How Animals Cost You, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43612902/ns/business-personal_finance/ (accessed July 13, 2011).