How much do pet owners spend on vet bills?

Some pet insurance companies offer additional discounts if you meet the criteria. You just need to know what to look for.  / Credit: Joe Schmelzer / Getty Images
Some pet insurance companies offer additional discounts if you meet the criteria. You just need to know what to look for. / Credit: Joe Schmelzer / Getty Images

The already massive pet care industry is booming. Last year, the U.S. pet industry grew 14% to $123 billion, according to a recent report from consumer market research group Packaged Facts, which attributed the "heightened focus on pet health and wellness" as a driving factor. Nearly 28% of overall spending went toward veterinarian care and product sales.

The growth isn't surprising, given roughly 70% of all U.S. households own a pet, per a survey by American Pet Products Association (APPA). Both dog and cat owners listed surgical vet visits among their top expenses, according to APPA.

An easy way to protect both your furry family member and your wallet is by purchasing pet insurance, which ranges from $30 to $70 per month per dog and $15 to $40 per month per cat. There are also insurance plans available if you have multiple pets.

You can't put a price on your pet's well-being. Start your search for pet insurance today.

How much do pet owners spend on vet bills?

In the first year of owning your pet, you'll reportedly spend at least $3,221 total for a dog and $1,904 for a cat. That includes everything from food to grooming to veterinary care (spaying, neutering, microchipping, etc.), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says.

Typically, for routine medical care and preventative medicine, the ASPCA estimates you'll spend at least $410 annually for a dog and $300 for a cat (see a breakdown below). However, pet owners told the APPA they fork over even more cash than that each year - about $700 for a dog and $379 for a cat for costs related to routine and surgical vet visits.

Type of careDogsCatsRoutine medical care (vaccines, wellness visits and more)$225$160Preventative medicine (heartworm, flea and tick, etc.)$185$140

Veterinary costs are expected to rise even more after inflation hit a 40-year high in September. Prices for vet services spiked 10% over the past year, The Associated Press reported in October, citing government data.

There isn't one price that fits every pet. While it's important to understand how much you could potentially spend on your pet, you probably shouldn't compare vet bills with your friends. Costs for pets vary by age, gender, breed, health status and other factors.

Pet insurance can help alleviate some of these pet care expenses. Just make sure to shop for a plan that's tailored to your pet's needs.

How to save money on pet care costs

There are numerous reasons to get pet insurance. It can save you time and money. Plus, it allows you to use the veterinarian of your choice. While most pet insurance policies are already affordable, some companies even offer additional discounts and money-saving options. You just need to know what to look for.

Let's review some of the best ways to lower your costs:

Multi-pet enrollmentSearch for eligible organizations or age groupsGet a higher deductibleMulti-pet enrollment

This one may seem obvious, but it's actually not offered by every pet insurance company, so make sure you do a quick scan if you have more than one pet in your home.

For example, the pet insurance provider Spot offers a discount of up to 10% for signing up additional pets. Create a login on their website, register your first pet and then click on the "Add-A-Pet" link through the member portal to choose a plan for your other dog or cat.

Some pet insurance companies allow you to add multiple pets to a single policy, while others will require separate plans and separate premiums. Compare and contrast pet insurance companies and their multi-pet offerings to determine which plan makes the most sense for you. If you're looking for 10% off, consider starting with Spot.

Search for eligible organizations or age groups

Several pet insurance companies also offer discounts if you're a member of a particular organization or a senior citizen.

For example, Fetch by The Dodo offers 10% off to AARP members, active and retired service members and their families, veterinarians and their staff and more. Those who adopted their pet from a shelter or rescue are also eligible for 10% off every month.

Check your pet insurance company's website carefully to view their available discounts.

Get a higher deductible

It may pay to get a higher deductible. A higher deductible will guarantee a lower premium, which can save you money over time (just remember you will have to pay more out-of-pocket before the insurance company steps in to help pay for care).

"A higher deductible will reduce your premium since it'll take longer until you get paid back," Fetch by The Dodo explains online.

According to a recent report, pet owners pay on average around $20 more each month by choosing a $200 deductible versus a $500 one. That's nearly $250 in savings each year. If you choose a $1,000 deductible, then those savings can nearly double, a price survey found.

Remember to always plan out your budget and determine what makes sense based on your personal financial situation and the type of pet you have (plus their age, breed, health status, etc.).

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