Report: Cost of pet parenting grows with humanization trend, premium products

Rover's 2024 True Cost of Parenthood report for dogs and cats revealed that 61% of owners reported an increase in expenses associated with their furry companions over the past year.

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Dog parents reported being most financially impacted by increasing costs of pet food (63%), treats and toys (48%) and vet visits (47%) in Rover's True Cost of Pet Parenthood Report.
Dog parents reported being most financially impacted by increasing costs of pet food (63%), treats and toys (48%) and vet visits (47%) in Rover's True Cost of Pet Parenthood Report.
Andrea Gantz, an online marketplace for pet care, released its fifth edition of the True Cost of Pet Parenthood Report for dogs and cats.

Backed by data and insights from real pet parents, Rover said the report aims to educate and inform current and prospective pet parents about the financial responsibilities and potential costs associated with caring for cat and dog family members. 

Stubborn inflationary cost pressures have added to the sticker shock of a new pet in 2024, but maybe paradoxically the bonds that people share with their dogs and cats have never been stronger,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert at Rover. “While dogs and cats are eating up a larger share of disposable income, that’s largely because pet parents view them as an invaluable, beloved part of the nuclear family. Spending on pets is now seen as less discretionary and more necessary — and that’s a super encouraging trend and realization for the pet industry at large.”

According to the report, annual costs for dog essentials can range from $1,000 to $5,225 a year with a median monthly cost of $260, an increase of $100 on average from 2023. The increase can likely be attributed to pet food prices. It should be noted that a recent report from found pet food prices have now decreased for three straight months. Even though pet food prices are decreasing, they are only 1.3% lower than their May 2023 peak and 24.5% higher than in 2019.

The majority (61%) of pet parents report continued increases in pet-related costs over the last 12 months, though this is down from 84% when asked the same question in March 2023. 

Key findings from the report

The True Cost of Pet Parenthood Report includes data from 1,000 pet parents across the U.S. 

Inflationary cost pressures continue as pet inflation outpaces other categories

  • Pet inflation outpacing other categories: 58% of pet parents say the cost of pet specific goods and services has increased more than the cost of other frequently purchased items, like groceries and personal care items.
  • Inflationary cost pressures: Dog parents report being most financially impacted by increasing costs of pet food (63%), treats and toys (48%), and vet visits (47%). Other inflationary cost pressures include pet supplements and medications (36%), grooming (36%) and accessories like bandanas or collars (31%).
  • Financial worries: Pet parents report being most worried about paying for vet visits. In terms of financial stressors, pet food comes in second place, followed by supplements and medications, treats and toys, grooming and accessories. 
  • Budget consciousness: 63% of pet parents say they have become more conscious of their spending since inflation started rising over the last couple of years, while 37% say their spending habits haven’t changed despite admitting increasing prices.

Pet spending is now considered a necessary part of the family budget

  • Cut costs, but not on my pet: 30% of pet parents have reduced spending in other areas of their life to make sure they can afford the items and services their pet needs.
  • Insurance is well worth it: 45% of dog parents have pet insurance and of them 93% agree it’s worth the added cost. When it comes to cats, 36% have pet insurance, of them 92% agree it’s worth it.
  • Financial support: One in 10 (10%) dog parents have sought help from a pet shelter or other organization to provide for their pet.
  • Pets are a bargain: 8% of pet parents with dogs delayed having children, or decided not to have them at all and got a pet instead, due to the lower total cost.

Pets are priceless as life extending pet meds are in demand, despite added costs

  • A real life-saver: Two thirds (66%) of pet parents would consider life extending medications for their pets, despite the potential added costs.
  • Time is priceless: 29% of pet parents are willing to pay any amount if it means their pet would live an extra year. 
  • Pet-related costs can vary depending on location, with some cities being more affordable for pet parents while others may cost them more. 

For the full report on the True Cost of Pet Parenthood in 2024, including the full list of most and least expensive cities, please visit here for dogs and here for cats

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