Americans Turn To Payday, Title Loans To Pay For Pet Care

Updated on

New survey shows 83% have had to borrow money at least once to pay veterinary bills

Most of us agree that pets are part of the family.

But just like human health care, pet health care is expensive. And as prices continue to remain high and wages are stagnant, a pet illness or accident can be financially devastating. Many simply can’t afford it.

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In fact, 83% of pet owners have had to borrow money at some point to pay for pet care. Almost 32% have had to decline treatment for their pet because they simply couldn’t afford it. About 8% of those pets ended up dying of natural causes and more than 5% had to be euthanized because owners couldn’t afford treatment. And 31% have used a payday loan or title loan to pay.

Social media is filled with heartbreaking reports of people struggling to afford pet care.

There’s the woman in Louisiana who took on more than $3,500 in CareCredit debt to pay for care for a kitten that was found in the yard, abandoned by its mother.

Or the woman in Texas who couldn't afford treatment for her dog after the animal was shot by a neighbor. Her application for CareCredit was denied, and she turned to pet rescues, including Dallas-based Doodle Dandy Rescue, for help raising the money to pay for treatment. The dog, named Ellie, survived.

February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. To mark this, Credit Summit set out to learn more about how we pay for pet care. We surveyed 1,200 Americans to learn more about the financial impact. Here’s what we found:

Key Takeaways

  • Many are struggling to pay for pet care:

Almost 32% said they had to decline treatment for their pet because they couldn’t afford it. Of that group, about 8% said their pet ended up dying of natural causes and more than 5% had to have the pet euthanized. Of dog and cat owners, 7.5% waited for the pet to die of natural causes and 5% had the pet euthanized.

  • We’re turning to payday lenders:

A little over 31% of Americans have used some type of predatory loan to cover routine pet care, with 21% using a payday loan and 10% using a title loan. Another 15% applied for CareCredit -- a line of credit with an APR that averages 26.99% -- through their vet.

An additional 12% of survey takers used a standard installment loan and another 4% said they borrowed money but were unsure what kind of loan they got.

  • Predatory loans are routine:

Of Americans who used payday or title loans, 37% said they did it once to cover a pet emergency, 27% use payday or title loans for vet care once or twice a year, 14% use them once every few months and 5% use them for pet expenses every month.

Read the full report here.

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