In down economy, pet owners cut veterinary spending last
Survey says ... pets need healthcare
When PR firm Fleishman Hillard asked pet owners in December 2007 what they’d cut back on if they had to watch their finances more closely, pet supplies was at the bottom of the list—just 32 percent said they’d cut back on these expenses. Pet owners who participated in the survey were more likely to spend less on groceries (47 percent), household goods (62 percent), and clothing (62 percent). The survey also found that pet owners considered veterinary visits, preventive medications, and name-brand pet food far less trimmable than pet toys, grooming, and doggie daycare. Veterinary care seems to be a top priority, even in a downturn.
Dr. James Young, owner of Atlantic Street Veterinary Hospital Pet Emergency Center in Roseville, Calif., has witnessed these choices firsthand as the economy worsens. Clients have been better informed and asked more questions about the benefits of his treatments and procedures, but they’re not neglecting necessary care. “It’s all about explaining the health value to the client,” Dr. Young says. “If something can wait, they’re likely to wait. But they want to know their pets are as comfortable as possible.”
Media focus on saving pet owners money
In an article titled “Save Money on Pet Care” in the Sept. 14 issue of Parade magazine, Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Marty Becker told readers not to skimp on veterinary visits: “Well-pet exams can spot little problems before they become expensive ones,” Dr. Becker says. He also tells pet owners to ask about senior and multiple-pet discounts, and shop around for the cheapest prices on prescription drugs.