Ireland is undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers, with somewhere in the region of 60% of Irish households owning either a dog or a cat, and nearly one-quarter (21%) having four or more pets.
However pet ownership can be a big responsibility, financially speaking – food, treats, medical bills etc. can all add up. So where are Irish consumers spending their hard-earned funds when it comes to their pets?
A total of 1,500 cat and dog owners were surveyed as part of Pet Sitters Ireland’s annual survey, with a few interesting revelations. Just 4% feed their pet a raw food diet, with most opting instead for the pet store brand (40%), a vet brand (23%) or those found in supermarkets (21%).
Peace of mind
Although vet fees tend to increase each year (or at least in the UK), 72% of pet owners surveyed don’t have pet insurance, citing reasons such as the expense, lack of cover availability or a belief that it’s a waste of money. The preferred (75%) insurance provider in Ireland is Allianz with the average monthly insurance cost per pet weighing in between €11 and €20 for nearly half (46%) of those questioned.
So what are the alternatives should your pet fall ill and you’re faced with high vet bills? “Very often vets are not able to offer credit terms so it can be a very stressful time for pet owners trying to raise the funds to take care of their pets,” says Kate McQuillan from Pet Sitters Ireland. “A savings plan for potential vets bills is an option and crowdfunding has become increasingly popular in recent years to raise much-needed funds. One London dog owner recently opened the doors to her home to raise £37,000 for a life-saving operation for her dog.”
Elsewhere, some 70% of respondents spend €1-20 per month on treats for their pets, with 50% forking out less than €10 on toys. Accessories are a little more expensive with 55% spending between €1 and €10 every year. More than half (55%) celebrate their pet’s birthday with a gift and some 21% opt to hold a birthday party as with any other member of the family.
“Despite the high cost of owning a pet, it’s clear that love and attention are not in short supply, with 61% of people letting their pets sleep in bed with them and 21% of people admitting they hold birthday parties for their pets,” says Kate. “With Christmas fast approaching and many people looking for ways to save money at Christmas 13% of pet owners said they wouldn’t be buying specific gifts for their pets at Christmas, with 16% saying they planned to spend over €30. It’s clear from our survey that the Irish love their pets and we anticipate that pets will be firmly part of the Christmas celebrations this year.”
For the complete results, see the infographic below: