It’s no secret that pet parents love their furry companions. Not only do they consider them to be family, but 86% worry about their pets’ health as much as, or more than, their own, according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by PetSmart Charities. Pet parents care about their pets’ health so much that they would be willing to go to great lengths to ensure their pets are healthy, with 58% of respondents saying they would even donate a kidney to their pet if they could. The hard reality is the rising cost of veterinary care in the U.S. makes it difficult for millions of doting pet parents to afford even basic veterinary care, but PetSmart Charities is working to change this.
The nationwide survey of pet owners found:
- About 45% of pet parents say the cost of a visit has kept them from taking their pet to the veterinarian. Nearly half of respondents feel they should be taking their pets to the veterinarian more often than they do.
- Nearly 30% of pet parents say they would struggle to pay a veterinary bill of $500 or more.
- For life-saving procedures, about half of respondents said they would ask friends or family for money, and more than one-third would take out a personal bank loan to cover the costs.
- More than a third of respondents would be left making the heartbreaking decision to either put their pet to sleep or surrender their pet to the local shelter when faced with unaffordable veterinary care costs.
Finding Solutions to the Veterinary Care Crisis
PetSmart Charities understands the difficult decisions pet parents face when it comes to giving their pets the level of care they want and is helping to break down barriers to accessible veterinary care. As the top funder of animal welfare in the U.S., the nonprofit recently announced a commitment of $100 million over five years to address not only the financial barriers but also the geographic, cultural and language barriers that prevent pets from receiving the care they need to thrive.
“This new data shows the heartbreaking situation many pet parents face when it comes to getting their pets veterinary care,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “Pet parents of all socioeconomic standings share an intense love for their pets and want to go to great lengths to take care of them, but the reality is there are often many barriers standing in the way. Our commitment to help keep pets with the people who love them is steadfast, and that’s why we’ve made our largest grant commitment ever to improving accessible veterinary care in the U.S.”
Addressing Barriers to Accessible Veterinary Care
Cost is just one barrier for pet owners looking to get their animals the veterinary care they need. About a quarter of respondents of the survey said that it takes too long to schedule an appointment, the vet’s office is too far away, they don’t have reliable transportation to the veterinarian or they don’t feel understood by the veterinarian.
“The veterinary industry is facing challenges of its own, including a severe shortage of veterinarians, especially for those looking to support underserved communities,” said Dr. Robyn Jaynes, director of veterinary affairs at PetSmart Charities. “As part of our $100 million commitment, we’re supporting measures to attract more people to the field by awarding scholarships to veterinary students pursuing community-based practices and establishing a training program for master’s-level veterinary practitioners to offer basic care at affordable prices. Veterinarians also feel and understand the struggles of pet owners, and it will take all of us working together on solutions to change the industry for the better.”
For more information on PetSmart Charities and to learn how you can help pet parents access the veterinary care their pets need, please visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps up to 400,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. PetSmart Charities’ grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crises with access to food, shelter and disaster response. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart® stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 18 years in a row, placing it among the top 1 percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
Carmichael Lynch Relate for PetSmart Charities
1The PetSmart Charities Access to Care Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. pet owners ages 18 and over, between March 28 – April 2, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. This data has been weighted to ensure accurate representation of U.S. pet owners ages 18 and over.