Nearly 70 percent of households in the U.S. own a pet, according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. Of those pets, it is estimated that 1 in 3 will need emergency veterinary treatment every year.
Emergency treatment can be a huge added expense for pet owners. According to Petplan, a pet insurance company, the average cost of unexpected veterinary care for dogs and cats is between $800 and $1,500, depending on where you live.
Most Americans would be caught off guard by an unexpected $800 expense. Only 39 percent have enough in their savings to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to a survey by Bankrate.
“Out-of-pocket medical expenses is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy for people, and pets are one small version of that,” said Eve Kaplan, a certified financial planner and investment advisor at Kaplan Financial Advisors in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
As veterinary medicine has improved, there are a lot of treatments available to help pets in emergencies. But everything comes with a price.
“I don’t think I can emphasize this enough — it is so difficult for owners when they are not prepared for the cost of their pet,” said Dr. Cathleen Meeks, a veterinarian at BluePearl’s specialty and emergency pet hospital in Tampa, Florida.