With the high cost of veterinary care, employers are starting to offer pet wellness plans to employee pet owners to help them afford to care for their pets properly.

Pet health-care costs and debts are rising in the United States because pets are living longer and they are experiencing the ailments of old age. Also, pet owners are seeking higher standards of care that they’d expect for any family member. For example, MRIs, once rare procedures for pets, are being adopted as standard services. Further, vets must comply with changing regulations, like tighter hazardous waste disposal laws. This increases the cost of their veterinary practices.

In a survey of a thousand pet owners, one study found that pet owners spend on average US$1,680 a year on pet care. Dogs are the highest, topping out at US$327 per month. Twenty-four percent of respondents had gone into debt to pay for veterinary care, at an average debt of US$1,556.00. Alarmingly, 45% of respondents spend as much on their pet’s health care as their own.

Millennials, the cohort of adults aged twenty-five to forty, are most likely to have gone into debt for pet health care. Though 36% of pet owners regret going into debt, 77% of those in debt would consider getting another animal.

Sadly, the high cost of pet care is making many pet owners avoid preventative care. Almost 80% of pets have never been to the vet, and when they finally go, their families afford the emergency bills.

Avoiding pet debt

Pet owners have options for avoiding pet debt. They can save money for unforeseen pet expenses, but that means saving thousands of dollars and leaving it untouched. And many pet owners don't even think to factor their pet expenses into their monthly budgets. In today's economic reality, many pet owners struggle to keep gas in their vehicles and food on the table, let alone save thousands to pay for something that might not happen.

Some pet owners are turning to crowdfunding to pay vet bills. GoFundMe has raised millions in donations to pet owners to help keep them out of debt, and they’re not the only crowdfunding platform available.

If you find turning to your friends and family for donations distasteful, emergency funds are available from charitable organizations like the Farley Foundation. Funding from these charities is dependent on availability, so there may not be funds when you need them.

Another option might be to take out an insurance policy against the possibility of emergency vet bills. Unfortunately, many pet owners are unaware of the likelihood that they might face a large vet bill in the future. Three-quarters of pet owners lack pet insurance, leaving many to face an impossible decision when the vet explains how much money they need to save their furry friend.

Using pet wellness plans to make pet ownership affordable

Employers are aware that their employees are dealing with these high pet expenses and inflationary pressures, and they’re starting to offer pet benefits to help employees handle the cost.

Employee pet wellness plans can be incorporated as employee pet benefits in flexible benefits plans and can significantly impact employees' sense of security. Not only do they cover animals predisposed to genetic conditions, but they also reimburse many of the preventative health-care costs associated with giving our pets the best care possible.

Pet wellness plans for employees help businesses by giving financial peace of mind to pet-owning employees, allowing them to be more energized and engaged at work. For many employees, especially in remote working situations, their pet anchors their day and stabilizes them, making them happier and more productive.
Wagmo offers three pet wellness plans, ensuring there’s a plan suitable for every pocketbook and pet needs.  Contact Wagmo today to help find out how best to support your employees and their pets.