NEW YORK — Can a pet ready you for parenthood? According to a new study, indeed in can! In fact, one in three people believe that their pet will make them a better parent someday.
However, as a recent survey of 2,000 American cat and dog owners reveals, pet ownership can also come with a lot of anxieties and expenses just as child-rearing does. For example, the typical pet owner spends $176 on initial supplies and adoption fees to bring their furry friend home. After that, they spend another $111 every month for their care.
That adds up to a whopping $13,320 in 10 years — the average lifespan of most dogs and cats. Meanwhile, over 45 percent of the poll actively worry that their pet might get sick or hurt. Another 33 percent worry their pet may be unhappy.
Waiting until the last minute for vet care?
The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by AskVet, also finds that pet parents trust veterinary professionals the most. However, they’re also surprisingly hesitant to pay for their companion’s related medical bills.Ninety percent of those polled will call their veterinarian when their pet displays some kind of odd or unusual behavior, but only 79 percent will actually schedule an appointment to visit that doctor. In fact, almost a quarter of all respondents (24%) say they don’t take their pets to the vet unless they know for sure something is wrong.
Overall, millennials between the ages of 25 and 40 wait the longest to call a vet when something seems wrong — waiting an average of nine days before seeking help. For comparison, pet owners in Generation Z (18-24 year-olds) and Generation X (41-56) wait six days and baby boomers (57+) only wait three days.
Another 44 percent say they’ll research their pet’s health online when they think something’s wrong. These respondents will spend around 394 hours web browsing over the course of the average pet’s lifetime.
“Pet parents often wait too long to manage their pet’s wellness,” says Cait Pluto, Senior VP of Marketing at AskVet, in a statement. “The right pet lifestyle choices lead to better health outcomes, lower veterinary costs, longer lifespans and more joy for pets and their parents. Pet parents can use virtual wellness care to manage that healthy pet lifestyle.”
Pets make people better
The desire for ongoing pet care makes sense — after all, 48 percent of pet parents think that caring for their furry friend has made them a more responsible person. Nine in 10 also say they are interested in managing their pet’s ongoing wellness more holistically and appreciate expert guidance through the journey.
“It’s hard to care for any living thing that can’t tell you what it’s feeling, whether it’s a puppy, a newborn or even a houseplant,” Pluto adds. “That’s why it’s so important to have veterinary resources you can trust to provide you with personalized, proactive guidance instead of resorting to online searches and unqualified advice.”
Ultimately, one in three respondents believe that their pets are a reflection of them as people. This includes parents who brought home a new pet for their kids; something 56 percent of the survey’s parents have done. In fact, 51 percent of those parents now say that even though they didn’t want a pet at first, they now can’t imagine life without them.