40% of pet owners rely on credit to cover unexpected vet bills

22 Mar, 2017

Research shows that 5.2 million UK pet owners did no research before buying their pet, leading many to underestimate the true cost of ownership. Satsuma’s survey, which covered 2000 respondents, found 40% were relying on borrowing or credit to cover unexpected expenses such as Vet bills.

Keeping an animal can be an expensive exercise, with 98% of pet owners incorrectly estimating the lifetime cost of owning a pet. A recent survey from Satsuma found that 18% of those questioned said the cost was the hardest part of ownership.

Unexpected vet bills were one of the most notable expenses and one that owners were least prepared for. Of those surveyed, 25% had encountered an unexpected bill and 42% of those said the average cost was over £100. 40% of respondents reported that they relied on borrowing money, whether on a credit card, borrowing off friends or taking out a loan to cover the expense. A further 24.5% had to dip into their savings.

Less than half the people (43%) questioned had pet insurance in place.

It seems that the key to a stress-free life as a pet owner is doing thorough research before you buy or adopt. Having realistic expectations of how much you’re likely to be spending over the pet’s lifetime is key. But more important still is making sure that you choose the right pet to suit you and your lifestyle.

Some of the key findings from the research were:

  • 43.5% spent more than £20 per month on essential goods for their pets including food etc..
  • 4.95% spent over £20 per month on non-essentials such as treats and clothes.
  • 24.9% of those asked have had an unexpected Vet bill in the previous year. Of those, 47.19% had more than one.
  • 41.5% said the average cost of those unexpected bills was more than £100.
  • 35-44 year olds are the least prepared for an unexpected vet’s bill. 52.63% of them borrowed from the bank, credit card or family and friends to pay for the bill.
  • Over 55s were the most prepared. Only 31.16% of those had to borrow money to pay an unexpected vets bill.
  • 18.4% said cost was the biggest difficulty in having a pet.
  • 24.8% of people pay money to a pet sitter or to leave their pet at a kennels when going on holiday

Satsuma also have some interesting online tools for pet lovers including the Pet Selector and  Amazing Pet Facts