Whether it be a dog, cat, horse, or bird (or all four), we all love our pets.
I mean, what’s not to love about our furry friends? They are smart for the most part (and when they’re not, its hilarious), loyal, loving, and forgiving.
We love our pets so much that we go to great lengths to spoil them, protect them, and sometimes, even save them. And, all of this care can become expensive, really expensive. The toys, food, and veterinary visits rack up quite the tab.
As a matter of fact, those expenses are not even the half of it when it comes to what we spend money on for our pets. In modern times, pet insurance has become a bustling marketplace. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), 1.8 million pets were insured in 2016 in North America; this represented an 11.5 percent annual growth rate from 2015. In total, $940 million worth of pet insurance premiums were written in 2016, which was up from $774 million in 2015.
As both consumers and companions, we are willing to spend serious money on our pets. But, exactly how much are we willing to spend? And, if we are willing to dole out considerable cash for our pets, does pet insurance become a worthwhile investment?
LendEDU sought to find the answer to these difficult questions in a recent poll.
Our poll focused on the two most common household pets, cats and dogs.
Ultimately, Dog Owners Willing to Spend More Than Cat Owners
To find out how much American consumers were willing to spend on either their cat or dog, we ran two individual polls. The first poll was answered by 250 self-identifying dog owners. The second poll was answered by 250 self-identifying cat owners.
We first asked respondents that only owned a dog the following question: “How much would you be willing to spend to save your dog from a life threatening illness or disease?” For comparison’s sake, we also asked respondents that only owned a cat, “How much would be willing to spend to save your cat from a life threatening illness or disease?”
As you can see from the first tab in the graphic above, if it came down to the ultimate decision, dog owners were willing to spend more to save their canine than what cat owners were willing to spend on their feline by an average of $7,271.24. Specifically, dog owners were willing to spend $10,725.46, while cat owners reported that they would pay $3,454.22.
If this data from our poll held true on a broader scale, it would seem that dog owners would benefit more from having pet insurance. According to NAPHIA statistics, the average premium for dog insurance that covered both accidents and illnesses cost $517.63 in 2016. By comparison, the same premium for cats cost feline owners $321.27 in 2016. While the difference in premiums is not much, dog owners would do well to have pet insurance because they would be ready to spend $7,251 more than cat owners to save their respective four-legged friend. That being said, cat owners are still willing to spend a significant amount of money to save their cat, so pet insurance would not be an unwise investment for them either.
Interestingly, when we asked the aforementioned question to owners of botha cat and dog, the difference was much more competitive. If you take a look at the second tab in the graphic above, you will see that owners of both a cat and dog were willing to spend $10,200.15 to save their cat and $10,392.99 to save their dog. Those numbers equate to owners of both a cat and dog having a willingness to spend $192.84 extra to save their dog. Since these folks are ready to spend five figures to save either their dog or cat, they should definitely take a look into purchasing some pet insurance.
In General, Dog Owners Spend More Annually Than Do Cat Owners
Since the first part of our poll was a bit on the mundane side, we wanted to simply find out how much of a yearly expense dogs and cats have become. Nowadays, any type of pet, but more so cats and dogs, can become quite the costly venture because there is simply so much to buy, such as designer dog clothes.
We asked the same two groups of respondents (cat owners that could have also owned a dog and dog owners that could have also owned a cat) the following question: “How much do you spend annually on your dog, or cat (including food, toy, healthcare, etc.)?
According to the above graphic, Americans that exclusively own a dog spend more on their companion than do Americans that exclusively own a cat by an average of $991.07. In general, dog owners have an average annual expenditure of $2,033.60, while cat owners have an average annual expenditure of $1,042.53 for their cat.
Interestingly, when it came to respondents that owned both a cat and dog, they estimated that they spend more on their cat than their dog. These data points can be seen by clicking on the second tab in the graph immediately above. In this cohort, owners of both a cat and dog spent an average of $1,501.93 a year on their cat. This was more than the $1,415.09 that they estimated went towards their dog on a yearly basis. Overall, consumers that owned both a cat and dog were willing to spend an average of $86.85 more on their feline than their canine.
This poll was commissioned by LendEDU and conducted by online polling company Pollfish. In total, 500 respondents were polled, but they were broken down into two groups of 250. The first group of respondents were American pet owners that had to have owned a dog, but could have also owned a cat. The second group of respondents were American pet owners that had to have owned a cat, but could have also owned a dog.
To separate respondents into these two groups, a screener question was asked to understand a poll participant’s pet ownership situation. When it came time to analyze the data, we were able to separate respondents into dog owners, cat owners, and owners of both a cat and dog. All respondents were asked to answer each question truthfully and to the best of their ability.