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Here Are the Most (and Least) Expensive Cities to Own a Pet

6 of the most expensive cities to own a pet are in California.

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GOBankingRates has released rankings of the “most and least expensive cities in the U.S. to own a cat or dog.”

The top-10 lists are based on the cost of pet day care, pet insurance and overall cost of living. (To compile its ranking, GOBankingRates evaluated the 50 largest cities in the U.S.)

The most expensive city to own a pet, according to GOBankingRates, is San Jose, CA. The city has an average cost of pet day care of $40 and average insurance cost per month of $42.

San Francisco is the second most expensive city, with an average cost of pet day care of $36 and average insurance cost per month of $42.

In fact, the study suggests that six of the most expensive cities to own a pet are in California.

Out of the 50 cities, the city named “least expensive” to own a pet is Indianapolis, where the average cost of pet day care is $19, the average insurance cost per month is $31.50 and the general cost of living is comparatively low, according to the ranking.

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Wichita is second on the “least expensive list,” with an average cost of pet day care of $22.67, an average insurance cost per month of $29.50 and a low overall cost of living.

Read more at GOBanking Rates

 

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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There’s a New Way to Calculate Dog Years

Dogs age rapidly at first and much more slowly in later years, according to new research.

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Scientists have developed a new method for calculating how old a dog is in human years, and they say it’s more accurate than the old way, NPR reports.

The traditional formula is to multiply the dog’s years by seven. But the researchers involved in this study say dog’s age rapidly at first and much more slowly in later years.

The new method is based on an epigenetic marker called methylation. The study, published here, involved drawing blood from more than 100 Labrador retrievers ranging in age from 4 weeks to 16 years.

Based on the new method, dog ages break down like this:

  • Juvenile: 2 to 6 months in dogs, equivalent to 1 to 12 years in humans.
  • Adolescent: 6 months to 2 years in dogs, equivalent to 12 to 25 years in humans.
  • Mature: 2 to 7 years in dogs, equivalent to 25 to 50 years in humans.
  • Senior: 12 years and up in dogs, equivalent to 70 years and up in humans.

A calculator based on the researched was published here. Smithsonianmag.com explains that the formula involves multiplying the natural logarithm of a dog’s age by 16, then adding 31 [human_age = 16ln(dog_age) + 31].

By the formula, a 2-year-old dog is equivalent to a 42-year-old human. An 8-year-old dog equal to a 64-year-old human.

Read more at NPR

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Veterinary Clinics and Retail Stores Unite to Combat E-Commerce Competition, Report Explains

Packaged Facts outlines the trend in a new publication.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ROCKVILLE, MD — Veterinary clinics continue to expand in retail stores nationwide, and market research firm Packaged Facts offers detail on the trend in a new report.

“Today’s pet industry is an ‘omnimarket’ where pet industry players aren’t simply competing across brick-and-mortar channels and the Internet,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

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Omnimarket describes a new era of multiple-front competition that simultaneously crosses former business operations borders between medical versus non-medical, products versus services, food versus non-food products and pet owner demographics. This notably includes veterinary expansion into retail stores.

The trend is described in a report called “Veterinary Services in the U.S.: Competing for the Pet Care Customer, 2nd Edition.”

The new era of multiple-front competition has been fueled by booming e-commerce in pet products, but just as importantly is being shaped by the competitive reactions of traditional pet product manufacturers and retailers. Pet superstores are responding to — and mass-market big boxes are exploiting — the internet’s erosion of the brick-and-mortar distinction between pet specialty and mass market by in turn collapsing the distinction between retail store and vet clinic/pet care salon. That’s specifically because hands-on pet care is the Achilles’ heel of the internet as a pet care provider and pet industry competitor.

Packaged Facts expects that hands-on pet care will remain the calling card of the veterinary sector, but that it will be selectively and progressively expanded in scope and supplemented by internet and digital technologies and communications, notes Sprinkle.

Among recent examples of the pet industry’s omnimarket shift:

  • Petco has added Thrive (in-store) and PetCoach (freestanding) clinics. It’s a strategy that echoes PetSmart’s longstanding affiliation with Banfield Pet Hospitals.
  • PetIQ is partnering with Walmart to open vet clinics in as many as 1,000 stores by the end of 2023, and subsequently is partnering with Meijer.
  • Tractor Supply Co. offers pop-up veterinary clinics at its locations.

Not only do these in-store clinics offer consumers increased access to veterinary care and pet medications, their presence promotes the overall concept of pet wellness, reminding pet owners of the importance of caring for their pets’ health and making it more convenient to do so. Even so, such expansion presents challenges to the business success of many traditional, independent vets and to the autonomy of the veterinarian profession by shifting the balance of power in favor of larger consumer market players and forces.

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Pet Health Insurance Firm Acquired

It has entered a deal with MetLife.

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Financial services firm MetLife Inc. plans to acquire PetFirst Healthcare LLC, a fast-growing pet health insurance administrator, the companies announced.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2004, PetFirst administers insurance coverage on more than 40,000 pets. The company distributes its pet insurance products through animal welfare agencies, direct-to-consumer channels and employers.

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The acquisition will leverage MetLife’s position as a market leader in U.S. group benefits by enabling the company to offer a new benefit that is growing in popularity, according to a press release. Since 2014, the annual growth rate for the pet insurance industry has been more than 20 percent.

“Pet insurance has become an increasingly important voluntary benefit, and this transaction allows us to capitalize on this rapidly growing market opportunity,” said Ramy Tadros, president of U.S. business for MetLife. “Today’s employees have an increasing expectation of their employer to support their lives holistically, and offering pet insurance provides our customers’ employees additional support against unexpected out-of-pocket pet health expenses. PetFirst is a leading pet health insurance administrator and we look forward to welcoming the talented PetFirst team to the MetLife family.”

Following the acquisition, PetFirst will continue to market pet insurance through animal welfare societies and its direct-to-consumer channel. Beginning in the summer of 2020, MetLife will offer this pet insurance to employers through its group benefits distribution channel, reaching approximately 41 million employees and dependents across the U.S.

Katie Blakeley, CEO of PetFirst, said, “For more than 15 years, we have proudly focused on developing products and services to meet the growing and evolving needs of pet parents across the U.S. During this time, we have seen pet insurance continue to gain importance as a valuable product for families. With MetLife’s tremendous reach and resources, we see a strong opportunity to help more pet parents get access to pet insurance and alleviate the potential financial burden of a sick or injured pet.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.

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