The true cost of pet ownership: unexpected expenses and a lifetime of care – DVM 360The true cost of pet ownership: unexpected expenses and a lifetime of care – DVM 360

Content sponsored by CareCredit

Nearly half of pet parents in the United States underestimate the particular lifetime cost of care for their 4-legged companions. 1 That means millions associated with households are financially unprepared for the true cost of pet ownership. How can veterinary professionals help bridge that knowledge gap to reduce the stress of unexpected costs on clients and ensure patients receive the treatment they deserve?

In the latest dvm360 ® Vet Perspective video series, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, and Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, discussed the results plus significance of the Lifetime associated with Care study.

Cost of treatment anxiety

The Lifetime of Care study was conducted on behalf of Synchrony, the particular organization behind CareCredit and Pets Best pet health insurance. It is based on findings from a nationwide survey associated with 1200 pet owners plus 100 veterinarians in the United States on spending that includes spaying/neutering, vaccinations, supplies, food, and insurance. The particular survey found that dog owners spend as much as $55, 132 during a  pet’s lifetime plus cat owners as a lot as  $45, 790. 1

Perhaps the most significant finding with respect to the particular veterinarian-client relationship was the fact that 1  in 3 pet-owning households will face an unexpected pet expense that will cause them financial worry. 1 Furthermore, the study found out that certain price thresholds caused stress in many customers. 1 Weinstein explained: “[When] we’re talking to [pet owners] about a  therapy plan…if 25% from the people surveyed saw a cost of $250, they would have anxiety [about their ability to pay] because it was outside what they expected in terms of price of care. An even more significant number to me is 46% [had anxiety] at $500, which means [half] of individuals you’re talking to…will possess a little uncertainty regarding their ability to pay for their pet’s care in a $500 level. ”

Why it matters: the role associated with veterinary professionals

Recognizing the particular problem—client underestimation of dog care costs and the stress triggered by unpredicted expenditures—is only the first step. If pet owners cannot afford care or opt out of treatments because they cannot accept the cost tag, pets will lack optimal treatment and practices will have got less business. Veterinary experts and staff are uniquely positioned in order to educate clients about the particular lifetime cost of take care of pets and the tools to cope with expenses, helping ensure those pets get the appropriate care. Moreover, owners want their vet to speak directly to them about the cost of care over their pet’s lifetime, including payment options. 2

Weinstein explained the importance associated with the vet team doing their homework on the various forms of third-party financial assistance, such as the CareCredit credit card and pet health insurance: “As a veterinarian, it is my responsibility to help vet…those companies plus find out which ones are best for my clients. I should be advocating for different pet medical health insurance companies. When I was in practice, we insured my staff members’ animals, which gave [my staff] a  full understanding of how family pet health insurance worked so they could advocate this with…clients. ” He added that he has used multiple forms of pet insurance in his life as a pet owner to be better equipped with regard to those conversations with  customers.

How should the team have those discussions with clients? Weinstein believes they shouldn’t start in the exam room. Rather, they should begin before the first appointment. He said information on monetary policies and plans can be communicated to a new client in a series of emails, around the clinic’s website, over the particular phone, or even virtually. “In a  veterinary hospital, your clients are usually only going to absorb about 20% of what you say, ” said Weinstein.

How to get started

Weinstein provided a step-by-step guide on how to implement his advice. “Step one: Send [clients] some info ahead of time. Step 2: At the end of the visit or before they go into the room, ask whether they’d like some additional information regarding CareCredit or pet health insurance. Step 3: Before these people leave, ask whether they would like the team to follow up. ” He continued, “I think…great questions on a new customer form would be ‘Is your pet insured? With which company? Do you have CareCredit? ’ And then finally, ‘Would you like more information about CareCredit or even pet medical health insurance to assist with price of care for your dog? ’” With these tips, practices will be well on their way in order to providing customers with economic peace of mind, Weinstein said.


  1. Pet – Lifetime of Treatment Study; August 2021.
  2. Communicating with clients: using the right language to improve care. American Veterinary Medical Association. Accessed June 20, 2022.
  3. ASPCA pandemic pet possession survey. United states Society for that Prevention associated with Cruelty to Animals. May 26, 2021. Accessed June 20, 2022.

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