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These Are the Sacrifices That Americans Would Make for Their Pets

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Plus: Tips for dealing with the expenses.

A new survey looks at the financial sacrifices that Americans are willing to make for their pets.

On average, American pet owners spend $1,560 per year on just their pet’s routine care, including feeding, grooming, boarding and scheduled visits to the vet, based on an average monthly cost of $130, according to a Harris Poll conducted by telephone for the American Institute of CPAs.

That’s a substantial amount when you consider that more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings (according to a recent GoBankingRates survey), AICPA notes in a press release.

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“Owning a pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s also a long-term financial commitment,” said Greg Anton, chair of AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “It is important to incorporate both routine and unpredictable pet expenses into your budget to help ensure your own financial plan will not be disrupted.”

About 54 percent of Americans have a pet in their home.

Nearly a quarter of pet owners (23 percent) said the cost of pet ownership is more than they expected. Food, toys and routine care are predictable costs, but there are additional expenses, such as emergency medical care or boarding, that can arise without warning. If an emergency expense were to present itself, 76 percent of American pet owners said they would make financial sacrifices to pay for it, according to the release. Seventy-nine percent said they would stop eating at restaurants and 67 percent would give up their vacation to pay for pet related expenses if they were in a difficult financial situation.

Sixty-one percent of pet owners said they would sacrifice their cable and TV streaming services to pay for their pet expenses. And 35 percent would even sacrifice their cell phone plan.

A little more than one-third (37 percent) said that they would sacrifice contributions to their retirement account to pay for pet-related expenses, putting their own future financial well-being at risk. And 27 percent would forgo paying their credit card bill to pay for their pet’s expenses, leading to potential penalties, interest rate hikes and a lowered credit score.

Individual pet owners said that to pay for emergency expenses they would be willing to give up “everything in the house” or their “quality of groceries” and would even “cut back on the amount of money spent on grandchildren,” the release explains. A few pet owners went all in, saying that they’re willing to “give up anything” to ensure their pet is taken care of.

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“As you consider bringing a pet into your family, understand that you’re making a substantial investment of both time and money,” Anton said. “The costs of your ‘new family member’ will go far beyond bringing them home, so it’s important to budget for the lifetime of the pet.”

To help Americans fully understand the financial commitment that comes with bringing a pet into their home, AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission offers these tips:

  • Be honest with yourself financially. If you are struggling to pay off your student loans and have credit debt piling up, does it really make financial sense to get a pet? Pets are great but they are meant to help relieve stress, not add to it due to financial difficulties.
  • Do your research. Though the cost of routine care may be predictable, it varies widely from animal to animal, and even from breed to breed, across the spectrum of family pets. Know ahead of time the probable cost of care that will come with your companion.
  • Make a budget: “pre-pet” and “post-pet.” Include all related expenses, such as food, treats, leash, crates, tank (for fish, lizards, etc.), toys, vet visits, grooming and other services such as boarding and day care. If your pet will require a habitat powered by electricity, be sure to factor in the impact it will have on your utility bills.
  • Be prepared. If you’re worried about unforeseen costs, use an emergency savings calculator to help you regularly set aside funds, or consider getting pet insurance.
  • Buy in bulk. Items such as food, treats and preventive medicine can be purchased in bulk, reducing the overall cost per unit.

For more tips and information on managing your personal finances, visit 360finlit.org.

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State to Consider Opening Medical Marijuana Program to Pets

The proposal would allow marijuana for dogs with epilepsy.

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A proposal in New Mexico would open that state’s medical marijuana program to pets.

The petition being presented to the medical cannabis advisory board would alllow marijuana to be prescribed for dogs with epilepsy, The Associated Press reports.

No state has legalized medical marijuana for pets, though proposals have come up in California and New York, according to the article.

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program includes about 78,000 people with a variety of conditions.

The proposal to open the program to pets arose as an anonymous petition. A public hearing on the proposal was delayed this week due to lack of a quorum of board members, AP reports.

Read more at The Associated Press

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‘Clean-Meat’ Pet Food Company Raises $1.2M

The seed funding will drive research and development.

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BOULDER, CO — Bond Pet Foods Inc., a Boulder-based company working with biotechnology to make “nutritious, animal-free and protein-rich pet food,” has raised seed funding totaling $1.2 million.

Employing the same fermentation technology that is used to produce ingredients for cheese-making or insulin for diabetics, Bond “adjusts the process to instead harvest high-quality meat proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish, but without the animal,” according to a press release. Bond was co-founded by Rich Kelleman, CEO, and Pernilla Audibert, CTO, in 2017.

With its proprietary approach, animal muscle protein genes are taken from a farm animal and added to a microbe such as yeast, then put into a fermentation tank and fed simple sugars, vitamins and minerals. This produces proteins that are “nutritionally identical to their meat counterparts without the environmental, animal welfare and safety downsides,” according to the company. The ingredients are then used as the foundation of Bond’s complete recipes.

The Seed round is led by Lever VC, a venture capital fund specializing in alternative protein investments, with Agronomics, KBW Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Andante Asset Management and others participating.

“What makes us so excited about Bond Pet Foods is that it’s the first clean-meat company producing meat protein in a way that doesn’t require major technological breakthroughs to get to price parity with conventional meat,” said Nick Cooney, Founder and Managing Partner at Lever VC. “We don’t think there’s any other company out there with the potential to disrupt the $100 billion pet food market as much as Bond Pet Foods.”

This round of funding will drive the research and development needed to develop and scale Bond’s animal protein production and to debut its first consumer product early next year, a protein-packed dog treat bar made with a pure yeast protein. It also serves as an important first step in elevating the use of ingredients made through microbial fermentation in pet food, and educating the public about its merits, according to the release.

“This raise gives us the capital to make strides with our technology and introduce pet parents to a new and better way of feeding their dogs and cats,” Kelleman said. “We started Bond to deliver high nutrition to our pets without harm to other animals or to our planet, and we’re excited to bring our transformative products to the world in the months ahead.”

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Top Dog and Cat Names of 2019 Revealed

Pop culture and celebrity news figured prominently.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SEATTLE – Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and dog walkers, unveiled its seventh annual report of the year’s most popular dog names with a new twist — the addition of the year’s most popular cat names. This year’s data shows that regardless of species or breed, pet names are a reflection of what owners care about most, from the foods they eat to the celebrities they love.

This year’s data reflected pet parents’ appetite for pop culture and what’s trending in the celebrity news scene. Names inspired by star-studded musicians like newcomer Lizzo (up 100 percent) and beloved Beyoncé (up 78 percent) made huge gains, and Taylor Swift’s reputation is on track with a 400 percent increase. Binge-worthy TV shows were also one of the top sources of inspiration for pet parents. The name Maisel of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel rose 1000 percent and Westeros-savior Arya Stark increased by 150 percent.

“The names we give our pets provide a peek into our passions, aspirations, happy places, and guilty pleasures, reinforcing what we at Rover know to be true: our pets are as unique as the names we lovingly bestow upon them,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert for Rover. “That’s why we’re so honored that hundreds of thousands of pet parents trust us with their furry family members.”

The humanization of pets was another trend for 2019, a survey by Rover revealed. The majority of pet parents (55 percent) said their pet either has a human name or they would consider giving their pet a human name. Pet parents (25 percent) also would consider giving their pet a name they had considered for their child. Trending baby names that inspired pet names included Dorothy, Elaine, and Dennis.

What’s in a name, exactly? Rover examined this year’s data to learn where today’s pet parents are drawing inspiration.

Walk of Fame

2019 data continues to tell the story of what’s trending for dog names with celebrities and pop culture.

  • Who deserves the royal crown? Meghan — up by 42 percent — wins with dog owners compared to other royals of her generation, but nobody beats Diana or Queen Elizabeth. Both are up by 200 and 150 percent, respectively.
  • Celebrity baby names are also popular, with Chip and Joanna Gaines-inspired Crew up 411 percent, Kylie Jenner’s Stormi up 364 percent and Kim and Kanye’s Saint up 96 percent this year.

You are what you … name your pet? 

Whether we aspire to healthier habits or crave comfort foods, our pets reveal the quickest way to pet parent hearts.

  • Dog parents love pink wine and sweets. Rosé is up 183 percent and dessert-related names such as Cake, Croissant, and Cupcake increased.
  • For cat parents, it’s all about caffeine and cocktails. Cats are more likely to be given alcohol-inspired names than dogs, and 8 out of 10 drink-themed cat names were coffee-related such as Mocha, Kona and Latte.
  • It’s not all indulgences though; healthy habits are also on the rise for both cats and dogs. Dogs named Kale (up 70 percent) and Keto (up 57 percent) increased, while cats named Chia and Boba are also trending up.

Cannabis Craze

Marijuana-inspired products and services are surfacing at every turn as legalization grows in the U.S.—even in pet names.

  • Marijuana-inspired names like Budder, Dank, Doobie, Blaze and Kush are on the rise for dogs and Kush, Doobie, and Blaze are trending for cats.

2019 Top Names for Dogs and Cats

  • New for 2019 Favorite Felines: Luna, Bella and Kitty came in as the top three names for cats in 2019, a new data set for this year.
  • Top dogs stay on top: Bella, Luna, Lucy and Daisy kept the top spots for female dogs, with Max, Charlie, Cooper, and Buddy also keeping their top ranks for male dogs in 2019.

To celebrate this year’s launch of services for cats, Rover included trending cat names in its annual report for the first time. The report highlights top trends in the U.S. and in 25 key cities, as well as a new addition of top names in Canada and Europe. For more trends and top names, visit www.rover.com/blog/dog-names.

Methodology

The Top Pet Names 2019 report was developed by Rover between September and October 2019. Results are based on analysis of millions of user-submitted pet names provided by owners on Rover.com. Secondary data was collected by a Rover survey conducted via Pollfish among 1,500 U.S. adult pet owners in October 2019.

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