May is National Pet Month, and pets make up an incredibly important part of many consumers’ lives. In fact, many pet owners spend a substantial amount of money on their “fur babies” reflecting this. Millennials make up a large portion of pet owners and TD Ameritrade explored their spending habits in a recent survey.
The survey found that, while both canines and felines are showered with financial affection, dogs tend to get a little more financial love than cats. On average, dog owners spend $1,285 a year on their pet, while cat owners spend $915 a year.
TD Ameritrade conducted a survey of just over 1,500 millennials to see how much pet ownership had an impact on their wallets. Of those surveyed, 72% own pets, most of whom (67%) warmly consider these pets as their “fur babies.”
One of the shocking highlights from the survey was that millennials expect to spend more money on their dogs over the course of the pet’s lifetime than they do on their own lifetime health care costs. And seven in 10 millennials (68%) would gladly take time off to care for a new pet, if their employer offered it as a perk.
Millennial respondents said they are willing to spend nearly $2,000 on treatment for a sick pet. And more than one in 10 millennials (11%) said they would shell out a steep $10,000. While they may be mentally prepared to spend the money, not all millennials are financially equipped to do so.
Chris Bohlsen, director of Investor Services at TD Ameritrade, commented:
Just in the last month, my family and I welcomed a puppy into our home. Having a pet is definitely expensive so it’s important to be realistic about these new costs and look for ways to mitigate expenses.
Bohlsen suggested a few ways to offset these expenses:
- Travel by car instead of air this summer for vacation. That way, the pet can come along and families can save on boarding fees. If that’s not possible, consider striking a deal with a pet-owning friend or neighbor with you repaying the favor when they leave town.
- Enjoy in-home entertainment. Take the opportunity of caring for a new puppy or older adopted pet to stay home more and go out less. Pets are often a great source of entertainment and companionship, part of why they bring such joy to millennials’ lives.
- Engage children to help out with caring for the pet. Bohlsen says, “We decided it was the right time for a puppy because my kids (seven and eight) are old enough to help with the puppy care.” While it may be appealing to sign up for a yard waste service or pay for doggy daycare to tire a pet out, enlist kids to pick up after and help exercise the dog—and build familiarity and responsibility along the way.
- Keep up on routine and preventative care. Being vigilant about a pet’s health and getting regular checkups and vaccinations can help prevent illnesses and spot issues early on, before they become even more expensive veterinary bills.