A Vet’s Take on Pet Parents’ Changing Attitudes Towards Pet Health

                                                         By Dr. JoAnna Pendergrass

Does the term “fur baby” resonate with you? If so, then it should come as no surprise that pet parents are spending increasingly more money on pet care.

Even if “fur baby” is not a term of endearment that you bestow upon your pet, chances are good that you have made a serious and significant financial investment in your pet.

Many of us consider our pets to be bona fide members of our families. Our pets’ health and well-being are often just as important as our own health and wellness, and we’ve shown that through what we spend to keep them happy and healthy.

The Dollars and Cents of Pet Health


The American Pet Products Association (APPA), which promotes responsible pet care, conducts consumer research and reports information on pet ownership rates, pet care trends, and what pet parents spend on animal care.

From 1994 to 2017, the amount we spent on our pets increased by 400 percent, from $17 billion to nearly $70 billion; that number is expected to keep rising.

According to the APPA, in 2017, the most recent year for which data are available, pet parents spent $29 billion on food, $17 billion on veterinary care, and $15 billion on pet supplies and over-the-counter medicine.

In 2018, the financial company TD Ameritrade surveyed 1,139 millennials to learn more about how they feel about their pets and how much money they spend on pet care. Here are key findings from that survey:

  • Millennials spend an average of $1,285 per year on their dogs and $915 per year on their cats.
  • 68 percent of millennials would take leave from work to care for a new pet if their employers allowed it.
  • Millennials generally expect to spend more on their pet’s health care than on their own.
  • 67 percent of millennials refer to their pets as “fur babies.”

Amazingly, spending on pet care appears to even be recession-proof. Data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that, during the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, pet care spending managed to hold steady, despite the heavy financial toll that many Americans suffered during that time.

What’s My Take?


My goal for mentioning these studies was not to bore with you a bunch of data and statistics. Rather, I wanted to highlight these studies to show that pet parents are invested in taking care of their beloved animals.

Of course, pet parents spend on more than just the necessities of pet care. Some pet parents might splurge on outfits for their pet (doggy bikinis, anyone?) or treat their dog to a stay at a luxurious dog boarding house. Other pet parents might gladly spend money on a pet psychic (not my personal choice, but to each their own).

So, even though pet parents may occasionally indulge their pets simply because they can, I truly believe that they are also more committed to providing top-notch pet care. If you see your pet as a member of your family, you will care about them deeply and will likely be willing to spend more to ensure that they are properly cared for.

A discussion on pet health spending would be incomplete without at least a mention of pet insurance. There is no getting around the fact that our pets can be quite expensive to care for; a routine trip to the veterinary office can easily cost $100 or more. Pet insurance can be an excellent way to offset the high costs of caring for our pets throughout their lifetimes.

Overall, I am encouraged by the increasing levels of care that pet parents show toward their pets. You might want to hold off on ordering that doggy bathing suit, though.

By: JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

Featured Image: iStock.com/Jasmina007


Things are changing rapidly in how the pet parents of today feel about their fur babies.    Veterinary expenses can add up to the thousands of dollars..   I thank Heaven that I purchased pet insurance when I adopted Bella.   That policy has saved me thousands of dollars just in the first two years.    Bella’s Veterinarian is a true clinician.  She is skilled in both holistic medicine and traditional medicine.   She has the latest equipment and a true love and compassion for her patients and their pet parents.  Her practice is definitely more expensive than most of the offices in the area.  BUT SHE IS WORTH EVERY PENNY.!  I know that Bella will get the best care possible without going to a major metropolitan area for treatment.  You have to stay within your heart and your comfort level.  But we strongly recommend the purchase of pet insurance to help you control your out of pocket expenses.

If you chose to order any pet supplies  please go to the  banner of your  choice on this site and click on the link.  Then Lovinmypup.com  will get a small percentage of the sale from your purchase.  This  helps defray the cost of hosting this site so you can continue to enjoy the articles. .  My primary concern is to educate pet parents but any little bit will help keep us up and running.    Please help us stay afloat!

At  Lovinmypup we have tried to accommodate all pet parents and their fur babies’ needs with  banner/links to the various popular on line stores. the banners are located  to the right of this page  (lap top) or beneath the articles  (smart phone).  There are traditional pet stores as well as well as  specialty stores for gifts that would make any pet parent ecstatic!  There is also a link to AmazonChewy, and Walmart, 1800PetMeds to name a few. You can purchase anything that Amazon and Walmart sell.     CHeck Out the banner link for  Embark Vet (DNA testing for pups).    DNA testing for Humans and Dogs is an up and coming field of science.   Learn the idiosyncrasies of your pups  genetic composition and what health concerns that you might be faced with in the future     Just click on the links and shop for pet products and more,  as well as fabulous gifts for the pet fanatics on your  lists!   .  We thank you in advance for your assistance in keeping this site operational.   Make sure you share your love with your pet each and every day!

Make sure you share your love with your pet each and every day!



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