Survey shows rising costs for pet owners due to inflation
LendingTree conducts survey of over 1,000 pet owners on financial costs and expenses
LendingTree defined generations as the following ages in 2022:
Generation Z: 18 to 25
Millennial: 26 to 41
Generation X: 42 to 56
Baby boomer: 57 to 76
LendingTree, an online marketplace focused on helping consumers with financial decisions, surveyed pet owners about their pet expenses, the financial sacrifices they have made for them, and pet-related debts they have. This was an online survey of 1,017 U.S. pet owners, ages 18 to 76, from August 12-18, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. According to LendingTree, all responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.1
The key findings from this survey are as follows1:
More than 75% of pet owners say inflation is making pet ownership more expensive, and 26% are struggling to afford the rising costs. By generation, millennials (32%) are most likely to say they’re having trouble paying for pet expenses amid inflation.
While prices for common expenses are rising, pet spending is down. Overall, 87% of pet owners say they’ve noticed increased pricing on key expenses, especially pet food (74%) and veterinary services (33%). Meanwhile, owners now say they’re spending an annual average of $984 on their pets — down from the $1,163 owners reported spending in a 2021 LendingTree survey on pet expenses.
44% of pet owners report making financial sacrifices for their pet — and nearly 1 in 4 (23%) have taken on debt for their furry friends. Pet owners are also spending less on themselves (18%), and some are even limiting their retirement savings contributions (10%).
The majority of pet owners would take on debt to cover an emergency expense. When asked how they would handle a $1,000 pet emergency, many indicated they’d take on debt by charging a credit card (47%), using a buy now, pay later service (13%) or taking out a personal loan (10%).
80% of pet owners don’t have pet insurance. At the same time, 22% of pet owners have had an unexpected medical expense for their pet arise within the past year — costs that could have been lessened by an insurance policy.
In a company release, LendingTree's chief credit analyst, Matt Schulz, commented on this survey, stating, “Our pets are family, and we often have to make sacrifices for those we love. With pet ownership getting more expensive by the day, many Americans find themselves having to do just that. The best place to start is by carving out space in your budget for pet expenses and even a pet emergency fund, if possible. That way, the next big unexpected expense for your furry friend won't automatically send you into debt."2