As a nation, our dedication to pet health care has slipped in recent years — according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), annual visits to the vet are down 21% for dogs and 30% for cats since 2001. Our survey of over 1,100 pet parents, the PetCareRx Pet Healthonomics Report, revealed that as many as 35% of pet parents have chosen to cut back on vet visits as a way to save money.
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The decline in vet visits is not the only recent pet health concern either. According to Banfield Pet Hospital, there are 37% more obese dogs and 90% more obese cats than there were 5 years ago, leading to a litany of other health problems. For example, cases of arthritis have gone up 38% in dogs and 67% in cats in the past 7 years.
Budgeting in Tougher Years
This shift is, in part, due to the recession, with pet parents everywhere forced to cut their family budget. There may also be a general unwillingness to take a pet to the vet just to find out that there is nothing wrong, with 10.8% of dog parents and 27.1% of cat parents saying that they believe a vet visit is only necessary in the event of an emergency, according to the AVMA.
An easy way to grasp the importance of routine vet visits for our pets is by looking at relative lifespan. If the average cat or dog lives to be 13 years old, that means every year they don’t see the vet would be like a person not going to the doctor for 7 years. Imagine the kinds of changes that could happen to your health in that time.
Committing to Healthier Pets
It’s important to take your pet to the vet at least once a year. If you plan to take them to the vet only when something seems wrong, it could end up costing you a lot more money in expensive treatments, not to mention the risk of putting your pet’s health in jeopardy. Catching a condition during a routine checkup often leads to cheaper and less invasive treatment.
Remember that illness moves quickly — by the time a symptom presents itself it may already be too late for the simple solution. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if your pet hasn’t been to the vet in over a year, it’s time to schedule an appointment.
How Else Do Costs Affect Pet Healthcare?
Check out the 2013 PetCareRx Pet Healthonomics Report and see how pet parents just like you are managing their pet healthcare budgets.