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How to Find Affordable Pet Care (Without Cutting Corners)


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Our Pet Healthonomics study set out to find how much the rising cost of pet healthcare affects the lives of pet parents in the United States. See how some savvy pet parents are finding more value for every dollar without jeopardizing the health of their pets.

Published in: Lifestyle, Business

How to Find Affordable Pet Care (Without Cutting Corners)

  1. 1. How to Find Affordable Pet Care (Without Cutting Corners) 0
  2. 2. Who We Are • 15 years as a leading online pet pharmacy helping millions of pets • Trusted online resources for pet wellness information and advice • Launching new products and services to make pet parenting easier, provide affordable pet care Mission: Adding love to the world by enhancing the lives of pets and pet parents 1
  3. 3. Today’s Pet Healthonomics 1. Pet Healthcare Today: Cost Trends and Cases 2. Difficult Decisions: Pet Healthcare Sacrifices Pet Parents Are Making 3. Smart Solutions: Budget Pet Care Choices You Can Trust We’re debuting the results of our PetCareRx Pet Healthonomics Survey conducted with over 1,100 US pet parent panel respondents nationwide, October 2013. @PetCareTweets 2
  4. 4. Pet Healthcare Today: Cost Trends and Cases 3
  5. 5. Costs of Pet Ownership Rise, While HHI Declines Annual costs of pet ownership increased over past 5 years* Annual Dog Cost $1649, up 15% Annual Cat Cost $1271, up 28% Median US HH income declined over last 5 years from $55.4K to $51.4K, down 7.5%** REALITY CHECK Pets are living longer Dog average lifespan 11 years Cat average lifespan 12 years Lifetime cost of a pet up Dog: $15,370 Cat: $11,305 Average annual dog expenses = 5% of average HH net income*** Average annual cat expenses = 3.5% of average HH net income*** * APPA report 2007-2008, 2013-2014 4 ** March 2007 vs Feb 2013, pre tax and adjusted for inflation and seasonal factors. *** Assumes after tax HHI $36.7K
  6. 6. But those are just the averages. What if your pet gets sick or develops a chronic condition? That can completely change the picture… 5
  7. 7. Cancer in Dogs Strikes Hard Over 6 million dogs and nearly as many cats diagnosed with cancer each year.* A dog with cancer could need Chemotherapy Radiation Surgery Medication $6,000 - $10,000 $5,000 - $7,000 $2,500 - $6,000 $3,000 per year** A year’s worth of Leukeran can cost over $3,000 Not uncommon to pay $7,000 or more for treatment If cancer returns, so could these costs * Source: Animal Cancer Foundation ** Source: PetCareRx Consulting Veterinarian, Lori Awadalla 6 “Madonna” 9-Year Old Shih Tzu Dx: Bladder Cancer Rx: Chemotherapy, Prescri ption meds
  8. 8. Diabetes in Cats Strains the Wallet Pet diabetes is on the rise in recent years – up 32% in dogs and 16% in cats since 2006* A cat with diabetes may need: $ 200 vet check-ins/treatments** $1,860 insulin*** $ 650 for prescription diabetes food**** = $2,700+ additional every year Cats with diabetes can keep same average lifespan (12.1 years), if treatment is kept up If diagnosed diabetic at age 6 and needs care for 6 more years, that’s an incremental $16,200! 7 * Source: Banfield’s 2012 State of Health report comparing 2006 and 2011 ** Source: VPI Pet Insurance claims data 2012 *** Source: MSRP **** Source: Hill’s Pet m/d Prescription Diet
  9. 9. Pet Healthonomics Survey 2013: Difficult Decisions on the Search to Affordable Pet Care 8
  10. 10. Today’s Pet Parents Highly Concerned About The Rising Cost Of Pet Healthcare Expenses • • Top ranked pet parent fear: pet may some day suffer from an acute or chronic condition #1 concern of 37%, top ranked fear • 9 3 out of 4 pet parents concerned about the rising costs of pet healthcare and their ability to properly care for their pets This health fear comes with financial fear afraid of being unable to pay for the healthcare needs of a pet nearly one third respondents named this #1 or #2 concern
  11. 11. Pet Parents Are Willing To Make Lifestyle Changes To Pay For Health Needs Of A Pet • 73% of pet parents agree: “I would consider paying almost any amount of money to keep my pet healthy” • Pet parents are willing to make sacrifices to fund care for a sick pet – – – – – 10 83% would give up eating out/going out 72% would cut back on other household expenses 66% would skip a trip or vacation A dedicated 8% would move to a less expensive home 7% would make the tough choice to give one or more pets away to be better able to care for their other pets
  12. 12. Today’s Tough Healthcare Choices In today’s environment, pet parents are faced with tough choices when to spend on key healthcare related areas for their pets including:  Vet Visits  Vaccinations  Protection/Preventatives  Medications Many are making difficult decisions and choosing between their pet’s physical health and their financial health. 11
  13. 13. Tough Choices: The Vet To visit or not to visit? • Pet parents report most of their pet spending increase year to year is on annual vet checkups • Between regular check-ups and surgeries, most dog or cat owners racked up about $650 in vet bills last year* Implications:  35% of pet parents polled are taking their pet to fewer vet visits as a money-saving measure  27% of cat owners only take their cats to the vet when there is an issue  A whopping 50% don’t take their cats in for their yearly check up Source: American Pet Products Association 12
  14. 14. Tough Choices: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Average cost of vaccinations:* Dogs: $70-$255 puppy $40-$100 yearly boosters Lifetime cost = $510 - $1,355 Cats: $35-$200 kitten $40-$100 yearly boosters Lifetime cost = $519 - $1,410 Implications: • 18% of cat parents and 12% of dog parents polled have cut back on or declined recommended vaccinations as a cost saving measure *Source: PetCareRx Consulting Veterinarian, Lori Awadalla 13
  15. 15. Tough Choices: Flea & Tick, Heartworm To protect or not to protect? Average cost per pet for Flea & Tick and Heartworm protection* $934 lifetime for average dog $1,027 lifetime for average cat Implications:  17% of pet parents surveyed admit cutting back on F&T in order to save money  18% cat parents cut back F&T  16% dog parents cut back F&T  9% pet parents admit cutting back on heartworm preventatives  Only 13% of cat parents polled said they regularly purchase HW medication *Source: VPI Pet Insurance claims data ( and Banfield State of Pet Health Report 2012 14
  16. 16. Tough Choices: Medications To fill or not to fill that prescription? Medication costs are rising for common conditions: Medication Condition Price Increase since 2008 Rimadyl Arthritis 53% Novox Arthritis 32% Soloxine Hypothyroidism 83% Methimazole Hyperthyroidism 60% Salix Diuretic for kidney, liver, heart disease 180% Nearly 1 in 5 pet parents confessed they had taken one or more of these unhealthy steps to cut medication costs:  delayed buying a prescription  split pills or used less of a prescription than recommended  declined to buy a recommended prescription 15
  17. 17. Where Pet Parents Are Cutting Back in Healthcare Area Sacrifice % Cutting Back Vet Visits Making fewer visits 35% Vaccinations Declining recommended vaccinations due to cost 16% Preventatives Cutting back Flea & Tick Cutting back Heartworm Meds 17% 9% Medications/Rx Delaying purchase, stretching use, or Declining to purchase 16% Vet Visits and Preventatives areas where the most pet parents are cutting back 16
  18. 18. Pet Healthonomics Survey 2013: Healthier Choices Checklist for Affordable Pet Care 17
  19. 19. Ways Savvy Pet Parents Are Managing Pet Healthcare Costs and Getting Better Value Per Dollar 18
  20. 20. Buying Pet Meds Online How It Works  Purchase discounted meds online through online pharmacy website or by phone with rep  Get an original prescription from your vet, mail to online pharmacy  Vet can also call/fax in your Rx to online pharmacy; online pharmacy will verify the Rx with your vet  Mail orders shipped directly to your home Considerations  Buying meds at the vet’s office is “often a mistake because vets’ markups over wholesale start at 100 percent and frequently hit 160 percent, plus a $5 to $15 dispensing fee…” according to Consumer Reports  Look for an online pharmacy with VET VIPPS certification, licensed in 50 states  A good choice for preventatives and chronic meds  Shipping costs / time – not appropriate for all situations, e.g. acute care needing treatment now 19
  21. 21. Purchasing Pet Insurance How It Works Evaluate average premiums per year per pet, deductibles, and pet eligibility  Pet insurance premiums can average over $80 a month  Pet insurance deductibles can average $125 annually or if per incident, around $60 per incident  Most pet insurance companies won’t offer complete coverage for senior pets, starting at around 8-11 years of age  In most cases, need to file claims to get reimbursed Considerations  Timing enrollment - when pet would be eligible and you would be likely to use to make the most of your investment  Cash flow - need to pay upfront for premiums and expenses that get reimbursed when claims filed  Be clear on benefits and how they work – does your vet accept or need go to participating vet? What services are covered and excluded? 20
  22. 22. Enrolling in a Prescription Plan for Pets What Is It New PetPlus by PetCareRx is a prescription plan for pets How It Works  Sign up for a membership for $9.99 per month or as little as $0.25/day with an annual plan  Members then qualify for the lowest prices on prescription meds and preventatives  Orders are placed online or by phone and shipped for free or picked up in-store at a local participating pharmacy like CVS, Walgreens if available. Considerations  Works for pets already ill or on medications – no dogs or cats excluded  No claims to file – just purchase products at rock bottom members-only prices  Could save 74% on cancer drug like Leukeran, 80% on insulin – both add up to thousands of dollars in savings per year  Membership offers other savings benefits on vet visits, vaccinations, kenneling and more 21
  23. 23. PetPlus by PetCareRx 22
  24. 24. Early Reviews on PetPlus PetPlus is going to change the lives of pet owners, making it more affordable for people to keep their pets and provide them a long, healthy and happy life. Paws Rating: PetPlus gets 4 Paws Up! – Robbin and Joe Everett, Pets Teach Us So Much We have been considering purchasing pet I have three dogs, and the cost of veterinary care can be quite expensive. This seems like a wonderful and effective program. - Lynzie, Pet Parent and new PetPlus customer insurance, but consistently decide against it because coverage seems to be unpredictable. Would love to try an alternative that helps lower the yearly medical costs for our pooch. - Krista, Pet Parent and new PetPlus customer We look forward to welcoming you and your pet! 23
  25. 25. Thank You! Erin May Director of Content Share with us! @PetCareTweets 24