Do you spend more or less than most owners?

By Kelly Vaughan
May 20, 2021
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If you're one of the millions of Americans who brought home a new pandemic puppy or cat during 2020, then you're likely familiar with the monthly costs associated with owning a furry friend. From pet food and treats to toys and trips to the vets, caring for these beloved family members doesn't come cheap. According to a new study, the average pet owner spends $111 each month on their animal, which adds up to $13,320 in 10 years—the average lifespan of most dogs and cats. This does not include the average $176, which is spent on initial supplies and adoption fees.

Pet owners tend to spend the most money on veterinary visits for their four-legged friends; 90 percent of those polled will call their veterinarian when their pet displays odd or unusual behavior, but only 79 percent will schedule an appointment to visit the vet. Furthermore, 24 percent of respondents said they that only take their pet to the vet if they know for certain that something is wrong. Millennials—or pet owners ages 25 to 40—wait the longest to phone their vet compared to other groups; on average, these owners wait nine days before seeking professional medical advice.

"Pet parents often wait too long to manage their pet's wellness," says Cait Pluto, Senior VP of Marketing at AskVet, in a statement. "The right pet lifestyle choices lead to better health outcomes, lower veterinary costs, longer lifespans, and more joy for pets and their parents. Pet parents can use virtual wellness care to manage that healthy pet lifestyle."

Despite the hefty costs, half of the pet owners surveyed say that taking care of their pet has made them more responsible and one in every three individuals surveyed believes that their pet will make them a better parent someday. "It's hard to care for any living thing that can't tell you what it's feeling, whether it's a puppy, a newborn, or even a houseplant," Pluto adds. "That's why it's so important to have veterinary resources you can trust to provide you with personalized, proactive guidance instead of resorting to online searches and unqualified advice."

This story originally appeared on marthastewart.com