Pet Insurance

Average Spending per Pet Household Estimated to Be $1,733 in 2024, Led by Vet Costs

Pet owners are projected to spend $1,248 on dogs and $836 on cats in 2024. Here’s a fuller look at pet costs, expenses and insurance.
A dog sits in a shipping box.
A dog sits in a shipping box. Source: Getty Images

Our furry friends are often more like family, and many spend on them like they are.

ValuePenguin researchers estimate that American pet households will spend an average of $1,733 on related expenses in 2024. Here are further cost breakdowns and changes over time.

Key findings

  • Americans are projected to spend $150.6 billion on their pets in 2024, or an estimated $1,733 per pet household. Nearly 2 in 3 (66.0%) U.S. households have at least one pet. About half (49.4%) have a dog and more than a third (35.3%) have a cat.
  • Based on available data, we estimate dog owners will spend $1,248 on their pets in 2024. Breaking that down, dog owners are projected to spend $387 at the vet, $349 for food and another $349 for products. Meanwhile, cat owners will spend an estimated $836 on their fur babies, including $326 for products, $259 for food and $217 at the vet.
  • The cost of veterinary services rose by 7.1% between April 2023 and April 2024 — the largest increase in pet-related expenses during that time. In fact, the prices for pet food or the purchase of pets, supplies and accessories dropped slightly in the past year (0.1% and 0.7%, respectively), while the cost of other pet services rose by 4.5%.
  • Americans spent $3.9 billion on animal insurance in 2023, representing 2.7% of pet spending that year. Across all pets, 4.7% of dogs and 1.5% of cats had pet insurance in 2023. As for policy spending, 92.3% went toward coverage that included illness, accidents and other riders, 7.4% went toward riders such as wellness or cancer treatment by itself and 0.3% went to accident-only coverage.
  • Average pet insurance premiums have gone up in the face of rising vet costs, but not nearly as much. The average annual premium for accident and illness coverage was $675.61 for a dog and $383.30 for a cat in 2023. Compared to 2022, that’s a 5.6% increase for a dog and a 1.0% decrease for a cat.

American pet households projected to spend $1,733 in 2024

The pet industry is booming. In fact, Americans are projected to spend $150.6 billion on their pets in 2024. (That’s up from $147.0 billion in 2023 and $136.8 billion in 2022.)

Breaking down 2024 by pet household, ValuePenguin estimates spending will average $1,733.

Estimated spending per pet household in 2024
Estimated number of U.S. households with a pet86.9 million
Total pet spending projected in 2024$150.6 billion
Average spending per household with a pet$1,733

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of American Pet Products Association (APPA) data.

According to ValuePenguin pet insurance expert Divya Sangameshwar, this spending is reasonable. "The costs of pet ownership are also driven by the same inflationary pressures that have led to everything becoming more expensive," she says. "Vet bills and pet food — among the biggest areas of spending — have risen dramatically over the last few years."

Nearly two-thirds (66.0%) of U.S. households have at least one pet. Dogs are the most popular, with 49.4% of households — or 65.1 million — having at least one. Following that, 35.3% have a cat. Beyond these popular pets:

  • 8.4% of households have freshwater fish
  • 5.1% have a small animal
  • 4.6% have a bird
  • 4.6% have a reptile
  • 1.7% have a horse
  • 1.7% have saltwater fish

Dog owners will spend an estimated $1,248, while cat owners will spend $836

How does dog and cat spending break down? Switching from households, ValuePenguin estimates owners will spend $1,248 on dogs in 2024. Dog owners will spend the most at the vet, averaging $387 for these services. Following that, they’ll spend an estimated $349 for food and $349 for products.

Estimated spending amounts by dog owners in 2024

Spending type
Percentage of spending
Implied amount
Vet services31%$386.93
Other services12%$149.78
Total spending100%$1,248.17

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of APPA and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Cat owners will spend slightly less, shelling out an estimated $836 in 2024. Products make up the largest share of these costs, with cat owners expected to spend an average of $326. Following that, cat owners will spend an estimated $259 for food and $217 at the vet.

Estimated spending amounts by cat owners in 2024

Spending type
Percentage of spending
Implied amount
Vet services26%$217.36
Other services3%$25.08
Total spending100%$836.01

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of APPA and BLS data.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cats cost less to care for than medium or large dogs because they require less food and fewer toys and have lower overall grooming costs. It’s also worth noting that the recommended vaccines for cats require less frequent boosters than those recommended for dogs. (More on vet care costs below.)

Routine vs. surgical visits: Vet cost breakdown among cats and dogs

Routine visits are understandably cheaper than surgical ones. While dog owners are estimated to spend $285 on a routine visit in 2024, that dips to $210 among cat owners.

Still, costs can vary widely depending on the visit’s purpose. For example, tacking on heartworm tests can add an average of $35 to $50, while bloodwork (often required annually for senior pets) could run you between $80 and $200, according to CareCredit.

Additionally, many organizations offer free services like spaying or neutering and vaccinations if you meet certain qualifications, which can help lower vet visit costs.

Estimated spending amounts on vet services in 2024

Visit type
Surgical visit$237.04$540.11
Routine visit$209.91$285.39

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of APPA and BLS data. Note: Figures were adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, surgical vet visits in 2024 will cost an estimated average of $237 for cats and $540 for dogs, but that also could vary widely by level of intervention. While a tumor removal averages $300-$1,600, cancer treatment averages $4,000, according to CareCredit.

Cost of vet services rose 7.1% between 2023 and 2024

Vet costs aren’t only the biggest expense for pet owners; they’re also steadily rising. Between April 2023 and April 2024, vet costs rose 7.1% — the largest increase in pet-related expenses during that time among the categories tracked.

The cost of other pet services rose by 4.5%, while the price of pet food fell 0.1% and the price of pets, supplies and accessories dropped by 0.7%.

Inflation plays a role here. With the cost of surgical supplies, medicines and lab tests rising (according to the Associated Press), vets often pass those costs onto consumers. Additionally, larger chains are increasingly consolidating vet clinics, limiting competition and forcing prices to rise.

"The rising costs associated with starting and running a practice are tremendous," Sangameshwar says. "There’s also the rising cost of pet pharmaceuticals, the growing longevity of pets, a greater willingness to spend more on pets’ health care and difficulty letting go when the pet is very sick."

Price changes for pet-related expenses

3-year change (2021 to 2024)
2-year change (2022 to 2024)
1-year change (2023 to 2024)
Veterinarian services29.5%17.9%7.1%
Pet services17.8%11.2%4.5%
Pet food22.5%14.5%-0.1%
Pets, supplies and accessories11.5%4.1%-0.7%

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of BLS data from April 2021, 2022 and 2023 and 2024.

Looking further back, vet costs rose by 29.5% between April 2021 and April 2024 — the largest increase in pet-related expenses. Meanwhile, pet food prices rose 22.5%, pet service prices increased by 17.8% and supplies increased by 11.5%.

Pet insurance costs are rising at a slower rate

As for pet insurance, averages also rose — though not as much as vet costs.

The average annual premium for accident and illness coverage for a dog was $675.61 in 2023. For a cat, that figure was $383.30. That difference is largely due to overall care costs for a cat versus a dog.

Compared to 2022, that’s an increase of 5.6% for a dog and a decrease of 1.0% for a cat. Looking back to 2021, premiums have risen 8.1% for a dog and 3.7% for a cat.

Average annual premiums for pet insurance

Accident and illness
1-year change (2022 to 2023)-1.0%5.6%
2-year change (2021 to 2023)3.7%8.1%
Accident only
1-year change (2022 to 2023)-5.0%1.8%
2-year change (2021 to 2023)-4.1%6.1%

Source: ValuePenguin analysis of North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) data.

Accident-only pet insurance is significantly cheaper, averaging $204.16 for dogs and $116.11 for cats in 2023. Compared to 2022, this type of pet insurance has risen 1.8% for dogs and dipped 5.0% for cats. Compared to 2021, it’s up 6.1% for dogs and down 4.1% for cats.

Why are costs falling for cats? It could be demand. Although routine checkups are recommended, owners are less likely to take a cat to the vet unless they seem unwell.

In the future, Sangameshwar expects that rising vet costs will lead to an increase in pet insurance enrollment. "Americans are getting more familiar with pet insurance, and their need for it, and as a result are spending more time educating themselves about the options available to them," she says. "They’re also vocal against rising premiums, exclusions and claims payments — leading to growing government intervention into the mostly unregulated pet insurance market."

In fact, California, Maine, Mississippi and Washington have already adopted laws governing pet insurance. Insurers here are required to make clear disclosures about exclusions, and they’re also restricted or prohibited from creating waiting periods for certain conditions or circumstances. These laws also require insurers to differentiate between wellness plans and insurance.

Considering pet insurance? Top expert tips

With the cost of caring for a pet as high as it is, having pet insurance may offer peace of mind for your fur baby’s wellness. Sangameshwar offers the following advice:

  • Know what your pet insurance covers. "Many Americans who get pet insurance think it isn’t worth it because they see it as health insurance for their pets and expect it to work the same way their health insurance works," Sangameshwar says. However, pet insurance works by requiring you to pay vet bills up front and receive reimbursement later, and it's generally more effective for major, unexpected medical care.
  • Understand the difference between plan types. "There are two pet health plan types that often get mistaken for each other: pet insurance and pet wellness plans," she says. "Pet insurance generally only covers the cost of treatment and medications from accidents, injuries and illness that may come on suddenly. Pet wellness plans cover the cost of preventive and routine care, like grooming, nail trimming, vaccines, microchipping, flea treatment, deworming, blood tests, dental care or a spay/neuter."
  • Shop around for a cost-effective plan. In addition to finding the plan that best fits your needs, consider adding a wellness plan to your pet insurance for well-rounded coverage.


ValuePenguin researchers created this report using data from various sources.

Changes to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) consumer price index were applied to estimate spending amounts for dog and cat owners in 2024.

Some data from 2024 is projected by the original source.


  • American Pet Products Association (APPA)
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)