How People Determine How much to Spend on Their Pet – The Irreverent Vet Speaks

Petplace recently contacted me and asked me to talk about this topic – How Much Money Will People Spend on Their Pets?

This is an interesting question. And the answer is – it really depends.

First, let me introduce myself for those of you that don't know me. I'm the Irreverent Veterinarian. I speak my mind and give you my honest opinion. I won't sweet-talk you or sugarcoat the truth. I tell it like it is – to you, the drug companies, the pet product manufacturers, professional breeders and pet owners. Some might say that I'm truthful to a fault. Some of the pet owners and breeders who read my columns get really angry. It is hard hearing the truth.
This topic isn't so controversial as it is thought provoking.

How much are people willing to spend on their pets?

I think it depends on three factors.

1. The pet owner's financial resources – This alone is not enough to determine how much an owner will spend. However – if you have lots of money – concern about spending does not factor into the decision. Some pet lovers will go in debt, sometimes even big dept, to save or try to save their pets. I've seen this occur thousands of time. Some people with money are more likely to spend it on their pets. Some people just don't have it to spend and without credit, it simply isn't possible to help the pet. Some people have the money but they don't want to spend it. I've seen all of these scenarios play out time and time again.

2. The bond between pet and parent – For some people, their pet is their baby. For others, a pet is simply a pet. They have no emotional bond to that pet. I had one pet owner tell me that, if something happened to his indoor/outdoor cat, he would never spend $1,000 to treat the cat – and money is no object for this man. So why wouldn't he spend the money to help the cat? Because the cat is aloof and doesn't give them that much pleasure. On the other hand, he has an indoor cat that is a real lover boy that he would spend any amount of money on if something happened. Sometimes, the strength of the relationship really is the bottom line.

3. The family situation – There are other influences within the family that can impact an owner's decision on how much money he or she is willing to spend on a pet. It may not be important to one member of the family but it is VERY important to another. Decisions to "treat" or "not treat" may be made because of considerations of children and family members.

It really is true – some pet lovers will do anything for their pets – and some won't.

It's not just about money. Sometimes it's about relationships.

My Final Thoughts on How Much Money People Are Willing to Spend on Pets

Pleasure is a funny thing when it comes to pets. Some pets give us lots of pleasure. Some don't. They're all different. Some pets are so wonderful I smile just thinking about them. And there are others that make me cringe (mostly aggressive pets).

So, I can understand why someone may choose to spend on one and maybe not on the other. Can you?


The Irreverent Vet is a columnist that regularly contributes to The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can't always say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, the opportunity to consider another point of view. All opinions are those of the Irreverent Vet and not the views of and are not endorsed by