The number of U.S. households with at least one pet is at an all-time high, and so are pet care costs. This means there are more pet parents among your employees than ever before, many who think of their pets like family and are working to balance higher costs with the ability to provide the best possible care for their beloved pets. Keep reading to see how it all adds up and be sure to check out our infographic for more insights.
Generational Pet Ownership Trends
Today, more than 70% of U.S. households–2 out of every 3–include at least one pet as a member of the family.(1) While that’s a lot of pets and pet parents, pet ownership is fairly dispersed across generations with Millennials leading the pack at 32%. Baby Boomers make up the next largest cohort at 27%, followed by Gen X representing 24% of all U.S. pet parents today. Although Gen Z shows up with just 14%, this generation is already well known for its love of pets and by all indications is expected to further drive the trend toward humanization and prioritizing care for their pets.(2)
For employers, it's interesting to note that employees aged 25-64 make up 81% of the total American workforce.(3) So, no matter how many people your business employs, odds are you can count a lot of working pet parents among your team. This is important when deciding which employee benefits to offer and whether pet wellness plans or pet insurance make sense for your people, as pet benefits can help you reach a range of employees at every life stage.
Caring For Pets Like Family
Cultural perspectives are also changing toward pets, and with the growth of pet-friendly workplaces and remote work, people now expect more for their pets’ care and well-being. And they’re getting a lot more in return, too. A recent study from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 95% of pet parents around the globe consider their pets as part of the family, and that 87% report mental or physical health benefits because of their pets.(4)
This “wellness effect” may also help explain why 77% of pet parents said they would make major life changes and sacrifices for their pets,(5) and why a different study found that 82% of employees feel greater loyalty to employers with pet-friendly policies and workplaces.(6) More and more people now are willing to do anything for their beloved pets and have placed the highest priority on the relationship they share.
Basic Annual Pet Care Costs Are Rising
As costs increase for everything from grooming to veterinary care, 47% of pet parents report having had some kind of pet-related debt.(7) While that number is stark, it should really come as no surprise as 98% of pet parents report spending money on their pets every month.(8) And to be sure the majority of these monthly recurring expenses are for everyday basic needs. Not discretionary spending on cat halloween costumes or doggie birthday cakes (but we sure hope there’s some).
To put pet spending in perspective, consider that total U.S. pet care industry sales in 2021 topped $109 billion, up about $6 billion from 2020 sales. The jump was led by spending on pet food at $44.1b and veterinary care at $32.3b including product sales (e.g. prescriptions). Also, just for basic care and routine visits alone the average dog owner now spends $1480 per year, while the average cat owner spends a bit over $900 annually.(9)
Employee Benefits And An Ounce Of Prevention
Different from pet insurance, pet wellness plans like the ones offered by Wagmo pay pet parents back for routine proactive care to help prevent chronic disease and lower costs over time. For employers considering pet benefits for their team, Wagmo Wellness plans give employees a pet care blueprint with guidance and resources that encourage regular preventive care, plus a powerful financial incentive for keeping their pets healthy.
When you consider treating infection with canine parvovirus can cost a pet parent nearly 24 times more than preventing it with a common vaccine, or that it can cost up to 41 times more to treat feline leukemia versus prevention,(10) wellness care makes a lot of practical sense. For employee well-being and peace of mind, proactively managing care gives employees the confidence they’re doing the very best for their pets. Also, the ability to plan pet expenses as part of the family budget lowers financial stress and takes a little pressure off of potentially challenging care decisions. So, with Wagmo Wellness plans it really is true that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
Want to build loyalty, improve employee well-being and help pets stay healthy? Get the new infographic from Wagmo or go to our employer page to learn more about pet care trends and rising costs. To offer Wagmo benefits at your workplace, email firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with a team member today.
1, 2, 8, 9: APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 2021-2022
3: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website accessed 02/02/22; https://www.bls.gov/emp/graphics/2019/labor-force-share-by-age-group.htm
4,5: HABRI International Survey of Pet Owners & Veterinarians, January 2022
6: Banfield Pet Hospital, Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer, March 2016
7: LendingTree Pet Survey 2020
10: Banfield Pet Hospital data website accessed 01/21/22; https://www.banfield.com/about-banfield/newsroom/press-releases/2021/new-data-from-banfield-pet-hospital-reinforces-the-power-of-preventive-veterinary-care