Ken Niedziela is the editor of Today’s Veterinary Business. He is a longtime journalist and editor who started his professional career at The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, before he moved to Southern California for an array of assignments at The Orange County Register. He entered magazine journalism in 2008 with Veterinary Practice News and Pet Product News International. He joined the North American Veterinary Community in January 2017 to help launch Today’s Veterinary Business. The Rochester, New York, native earned his journalism degree from Michigan State University.Read Articles Written by Ken Niedziela
My year-old English Labrador retriever is built like a Ford Mustang — powerful, speedy and low to the ground — but little did I know when I brought her home that she will end up costing me just as much as a sports car, or more.
Over 15 years, according to Synchrony’s Lifetime of Care study, Mocha will run up expenses of nearly $20,000 to just over $55,000. That’s what the survey of 1,200 U.S. pet owners and 100 veterinarians revealed. On the other hand, if Mocha were a cat, I’d spend from $15,055 to $45,790, depending on her breed, where I live, Mocha’s lifestyle, and my thriftiness and attention to veterinary care.
“We often see pet parents get surprised by these expenses,” said Jonathan Wainberg, a senior vice president and general manager of Synchrony’s pet division. “In talking to our veterinarian partners, we wanted to provide a preparedness plan for what those expenses could be.
“You say a car,” he told me, “I say a pretty nice car.”
The Lifetime of Care report — read it at bit.ly/3qt777C — also found:
- 45% of dog owners who originally thought they were financially ready for pet expenses were not. Among cat owners, 38% weren’t ready.
- 46% of pet owners said an unexpected expense of up to $500 would be a financial issue.
The study wasn’t intended to discourage pet ownership. Rather, the goal was to raise awareness and nudge people into thinking about how to pay for pet care.
“Having a pet in your family is a great thing to do … but we want people to know what kind of covenant they’re getting into,” Wainberg said. “We still recommend the relationship with a pet no matter what because there are so many benefits, but having that knowledge beforehand is critical.”
He recommended that veterinary teams “have that initial conversation at the vaccination period about the options available to first-time pet owners or multiple-pet parents so that they know what they’re going into, so that they’ll be prepared.”