The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives and for pet owners, it has impacted their relationship with their pets when it comes to spending, care and time spent together.
While some pet owners had the opportunity to spend more time with their best friend while working from home, others became new pet parents by bringing home a dog or cat within the last year.
Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or new to the world of pet ownership, pet spending and care has definitely changed during these pandemic times.
Money.com conducted a national poll of over 1,300 pet owners between March 5 and March 8 of 2021, to determine how much pet owners have spent during the pandemic. Additionally, they took a look at how and why Americans became new pet parents and asked them questions to tap their knowledge of medical care and pet insurance.
So, what did they find?
According to the survey results:
“The results revealed a deepened relationship during the pandemic between humans and their pets, reflected in part through a willingness to spend almost anything to provide for their animals’ care.”
American’s Relationships WIth Their Pets During COVID-19
When lockdowns first started to trickle across the United States in March 2020, many Americans shifted to a remote working or hybrid setup. While working from home a few changes occured:
Pet owners had the opportunity to spend more time with their dog or cat.
Individuals who may have always wanted a pet, considered adding a furry friend to their family (many followed through by bringing a new pet home).
And, more time inside meant more time with our pets. Money.com’s survey posed the question:
“Did the pandemic result in pet owners feeling more affection for their pets?”
According to their poll, 58% of respondents agreed that they valued their pet more than before the pandemic. And 50% said that they were more affectionate to their pet now than before the pandemic.
Dog and cat owners reported a similar increase in affection for their animal and urban pet owners appeared to have been the most positively affected by having a pet in the past year.
The Negatives of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic
While the report showed primarily positive responses to the pet owners' relationship with their pets, there were some negatives.
11% reported that their pet annoys them more now. 16% reported that they were having trouble with their pet’s needs. The survey found an interesting relationship between age and pet care, where the youngest pet owners (ages 18 to 34) struggled more with pet care than seniors.
Did Americans Spend More On Their Pets?
It seems as though there has been a narrative floating around that many pet owners were spending more on their pets due to the pandemic. Yet, the survey results tell a different story.
While pet owners are still spending a decent amount of their money on their pets each month, it doesn’t appear that they are spending more because of the pandemic.
The survey shows that pet owners’ spending has remained steady at the same levels before the pandemic. The heaviest spenders, those who spend more than $150 on food, toys and other expenses, slightly increased their spending habits.
But, 71% of pet owners spent $100 or less a month on their pets now and also before March 2020.
While pet owners didn’t necessarily spend more during the pandemic, pet expenses continue to remain a large factor of pet ownership.
At Fursure, we want to help parents feel financially secure while taking care of their pet and get rewarded for their wonderful care and dedication. That’s why we’ve created our Rewards Debit Card.
With our Rewards Debit Card, pet owners will receive 5x points on any pet care spend. And, the points you earn can be used on veterinarian care, which is a costly expense for pet owners.
It’s the first rewards debit card made by pet parents for pet parents. You can learn more and sign up for your free card here.
Buying a Pet During The Pandemic
Many Americans became new pet parents during the pandemic. According to the survey, 22% of respondents brought a new pet home since March 2020.
The younger demographics, GenZers, Millennials and families with children, were 50% more likely to have added a new pet to their family.
While some were driven by loneliness, others had always wanted a pet and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to become a pet owner.
In terms of where pet owners went to obtain their pet, 37% used a shelter and 20% used a breeder.
Pet Owners & Medical Care For Their Pets
In addition to asking about their pet spending during the pandemic, the survey posed questions to respondents about their willingness to spend on medical care for their pets.
Medical care is incredibly important for all pets and is imperative for pet owners to pay attention to when it comes to taking care of their best friend.
From the responses, three-quarters of pet owners said that they take their pet annually to the veterinarian for checkups, vaccinations and routine care.
Those with higher incomes, $100,000 or more, went to the vet at least annually for routine reasons. 44% of these wealthier owners visited more than once per year.
When it comes to saving, pet owners often have a difficult time budgeting for pet expenses and anticipating how much wellness, care and treatment can cost.
Medical treatment can be incredibly expensive and according to the survey results, 82% of owners would take any measure to save their pet’s life that they could afford. And, 67% said they would take any measure to save their pet’s life, regardless of the cost.
Since we know that veterinarian costs can be incredibly expensive for pet owners, our team at Fursure has created a way for pet owners to get rewarded for the great care they already give their pets all while saving money on veterinary expenses. With the Fursure Card, our rewards debit card for pet parents, you'll earn points for every dollar spent and those points can be redeemed for cash back on veterinary care. 5x points for all pet spend and 1x points on everything else, the Fursure Card is your best solution for lowering the cost of veterinary care.
Learn more about the Fursure Card and sign up for free, here!
Pet Insurance Insight & Buying Behaviors
The survey concluded with asking pet owners about their knowledge of pet insurance and whether they would buy it for their pet.
Pet insurance is one of the fastest growing products in the pet space. While it continues to gain popularity among pet owners, some are still unsure of what it does and how it can benefit their pet.
56% of respondents said that they had some knowledge of pet insurance, while 44% said that they were unfamiliar. Only 20% of the survey respondents had insurance for their pets.
In all, the survey results showed that there was a general misunderstanding of what pet insurance is, what a pet insurance policy entails and the coverage options available.
And, the confusion is 100%, completely understandable. Even though pet insurance is becoming more popular, that doesn’t make it easier to understand for pet owners. With the increasing number of pet insurance providers entering the space and each offering different policy options and levels of coverage, it can be difficult for pet owners to navigate.
Pet insurance is incredibly important for many pet owners. Not only does it help cover expensive medical bills due to any accidents or illnesses that may occur, it gives you peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected no matter what.
At Fursure, we help pet parents find the best pet insurance policy for their pet and budget. We do all of the research for you and provide you with a list of customized policy options to choose from. All we need is a few details about your pet and we’ll match you to the best insurance providers. And, did we mention we’re completely free to use?