One of the silver linings coming from the pandemic is that when pet shelters had to close temporarily during lockdowns, a call went out for foster homes so animals would continue receiving the necessary attention. Many of those pets were so loved that they were adopted rather than returned to shelters.

In other cases, people working from home decided adopting a pet was just what they needed to endure those long months of social distancing. Kids who were being schooled from home found furry playmates, and many of the elderly found four-legged companions in lieu of visiting grandchildren.

In short, many Americans adopted cats and dogs throughout this pandemic. Shelter adoption rates soared by as much as 40% in 2020 from the prior year, as the unbridled enthusiasm of dogs and purring cuddles of kittens eased our stress and isolation.1

Today, between 50% and 70% of U.S. households have at least one pet.2 Unfortunately, one of the things new pet owners don’t always consider is how much more expenses they may incur by adopting a pet. Food and accessories are one thing, but if your pooch gets sick or injured, those veterinarian bills may be more than you anticipated.

Remember, insurance is a good idea to protect your finances from large expenses not easily covered. Life, health, and auto insurance are important ways to protect your household finances. Also, it may be worth considering various insurance products that can secure lifetime income during retirement. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more.

Purchasing pet insurance should be decided based on your own financial situation. Be aware that pet insurance doesn’t typically cover routine checkups; it’s used for big-ticket expenses such as accidents, injuries, and chronic illnesses. In general, policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, which is why it’s better to purchase a policy when you first adopt, rather than waiting until your pet is older. Also note that while premiums vary depending on the pet, dog coverage tends to cost more than cat coverage, and rates for older pets are generally higher.3

If your employer offers pet insurance as a voluntary benefit, that may be your best value. While policies tend to be the same whether purchased as an individual or through an employer, companies generally offer better group rates. For example, if purchased individually, a policy for the average, healthy, 1-year old dog may range from $6 to $55 a month depending on breed, age, and other variables.4 Through an employer plan, rates are generally lower and more standardized – a dog policy averages about $40 a month.5

People who adopted while working from home may not have considered the pet’s expectations when they have to head back to the office. Many animals grow lonely and despondent, so you may consider something like doggy daycare or a dog walker – yet another expense. Even if you don’t mind leaving your pets at home for the day, there will be times when you can’t take them on vacation, so be sure to budget for the cost of a local pet-sitter or boarding kennel.6 

1 Roselle Chen. Reuters. May 3, 2021. “U.S. pet adoptions still strong as cats, dogs melt stress.” Accessed Oct. 22, 2021.

2 Emilie Shumway. HR Dive. June 10, 2021. “Could employer-subsidized pet insurance be a talent lure?” Accessed Oct. 22, 2021.

3 Ibid.

4 Kristen Hampshire. US News & World Report. May 27, 2021. “How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?” Accessed Oct. 22, 2021.

5 Emilie Shumway. HR Dive. June 10, 2021. “Could employer-subsidized pet insurance be a talent lure?” Accessed Oct. 22, 2021.

6 North Coast Rising Sun. Oct. 20, 2021. “Five personal finance tips for pet owners.” Accessed Oct. 22, 2021.