The Extreme Cost of Being a Pet Owner

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the pet industry, which reached $86 billion in 2017, will continue to have a strong growth trajectory. Our relationships with our pets have slowly changed over the past few decades, eventually evolving into a beloved member of the family, according to 95% of Americans, up from 88% in 2007. 62% of American households now own at least one pet, and according to the ASPCA, the annual cost of owning a dog averages as much as $1,843. Now consumers have moved beyond organic pet food and dog walkers and into the cosmetic space.

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According to Petplan, an insurance company for pets, pet parents spent $62 million in 2011 on plastic surgery for their pets. Some of the surgeries are medically necessary, such as eyelid lifts for dogs whose wrinkles collect bacteria between the skin folds, or “nose jobs” which enlarge the nasal openings to help snub-nosed breeds like pugs breathe easier. Others, like Neuticles, which are prosthetic testicular implants for dogs, are cosmetic surgeries and seem to be more for the owner’s sake than the dog’s health. According to the creator of Neuticles, Gregg A. Miller, who invented them in 1995, over 500,000 animals have been surgically implanted with the silicone testicles. These surgical procedures can cost the owner between $4,000-$5,000.


The flea bath and shave down are a thing of the past. Now pet owners are getting their dog’s hair colored, accessorized and beyond. The latest fads are lion cuts, teddy bear cuts, and “asian fusion” styling, (short on the body and long on the legs) which will set the owner back up to $300. Veterinarians, however, disagree with these custom cuts as it can actually make it harder for the pet to cool down and leave them open to getting a sunburn.  


A relaxing day at the spa is no longer an indulgence only available to humans and has grown into a $5 billion annual business. Luxurious pet hotels and spas have opened up to offer mud masks ($25), oatmeal soaks ($30), blueberry facials ($10) and more. A water workout and lap swim will cost the owner $40, while the more strenuous “Iron Dog” workout, which includes a jog, swim and field play, is $80 per session.

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.