Consumers don't plan to cut veterinary spending, survey finds


Pet owners said they'd sooner cut groceries than pet supplies.

Before the Fed started dropping interest rates and world markets started quaking at the thought of a U.S. recession, public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard asked U.S. pet owners in an online survey Dec. 28, 2007, what they'd cut back on if they had to trim spending. You'll be glad to know, pet supplies were last on the list.

Just 32 percent of pet owners said that if they had to reduce spending in the next six months, they'd reduce spending on pet supplies. That's compared to 85 percent who said they'd cut spontaneous purchases, 83 percent who'd trim luxury items-and nearly 50 percent who said they'd spend less on groceries. That willingness to sacrifice for pets was evident when they were asked to choose between themselves and their pets if they had to be more "conservative." Forty-nine percent said they'd spend less on themselves, 31 percent said they'd spend less on their pets, and 19 percent said they didn't know if they'd spend any less. Maybe they figure the cat and dog might like watching the high-definition television, too.

When the survey finally pushed respondents into a corner-"How would you limit your purchase of the following pet items?"-they answered the way every veterinarian hoped they would. The top four were pet toys (57 percent said they'd cut), pet fashion (52 percent), professional pet care (47 percent), and professional grooming (45 percent). The least likely to get cut were preventive medications (26 percent), veterinary visits (27 percent), and name-brand pet food (38 percent).

The online survey polled 1,048 Internet users ages 18 or older living in private households in the continental United States. Of those, 665 were pet owners.

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