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With pet costs soaring, owners and rescues are stretching resources

Overall pet costs up 7.5% compared to last year
Posted at 6:07 AM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 07:33:06-04

DETROIT (WXYZ-TV) — Along with just about everything else right now, you've probably noticed you're shelling out a lot more on your pets.

From dog food to medication, chew toys, even pet insurance.

Compared to March of 2021, overall pet costs were up around 7.5% in March of this year according to research from petfoodindustry.com.

But you don't have to tell that to Laura Adams from Manchester. She's living it each day.

“Food alone is probably $50 dollars a month more," she said.

Her rescue dogs, 11-year-old giant Schnauzer Xena and 5-year-old Doodle Ziva not only eat a lot, but they eat specific foods due to stomach issues.

As a result, Laura is eating out less and budgeting tighter where she can so that her fur babies have whatever they need.

But not everyone is able to do that.

“Sadly we’ve had to take in a few surrenders just due people losing their home, moving, and even take back a couple dogs we adopted out a few years ago," said Kristina Rinaldi, executive director at Detroit Dog Rescue.

DDR, which is in the process now of moving into a larger shelter on Grand River, is meeting pet owners where they're at, by offering donated supplies.

“What were saying is, if you can keep your dog, we can supply you with six months of food," Rinaldi said. “It’s been dozens and dozens of people in the last three months. I went out Monday and we were out all day. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., going to houses giving dog food.”

On top of food and toy costs, which are also up, insuring animals is more costly.

Action News viewer Traci Stevenson said her Nationwide pet insurance for her French bulldog went up $20 in February. Now, she's paying nearly $70 monthly for her healthy pet.

The number of pets insured in the U.S. was up nearly 28% in 2021 according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

Generally, pet insurance costs between $20 and $60 per month and is most often used for major accidents or health emergencies, not general check-ups.

There can be breed specific costs, and premiums go up for pre-existing conditions.

For those opting to insure their pets, local vets suggest having a full puppy or kitten exam before choosing a plan or provider.

You can also ask your vet about wellness or preventative care plans to cut down on up-front costs.

For pet owners struggling financially, food pantries can help. Michigan Humane's Judith Caplan Phillips Pet Food Program distributed more food than it ever has before in 2021; 1.3 million pounds.