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12th February 2024

Pet Healthcare Plans During a Cost-of-living Crisis

pet health plans in a cost-of-living crisis


Owners increasingly view their pets as part of the family and are keen to treat them as such. When times are harder pets are valuable companions for emotional wellbeing, however, keeping a pet healthy is an ever more expensive business and may put more pressure on already tight budgets during the cost-of-living crisis. As prices on everything continue to rise it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a lot of pet owners to maintain preventative or even necessary care for pets. In fact, BVA’s 2023 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey revealed that almost all (99%) of vets across the UK had seen pets in the last 12 months who should have been brought to them for treatment earlier. Cats Protection’s ‘annual Cats and Their Stats report’ has found that four million cats are not receiving regular healthcare.

Some pet owners are just not able to afford to keep their beloved pets and whilst this will be a last resort, the UK Pet Food’s annual pet survey revealed that 3.7m households admitted to having relinquished a pet in 2022.1

What can you do to help pet owners during the cost-of-living crisis?

Remind your clients of the benefits of joining your pet healthcare plans. They really are a positive and helpful client service and they’re not only an easy way for pet owners to access the best preventative care, but they also allow them to budget and spread the cost, by making smaller monthly payments. As well as regular health checks, there may also be a range of discounts available through membership of your plan, helping clients save more on other costs for procedures or products.

By making sure your non-plan clients are regularly reminded of your plans, the better they’ll understand what benefits they’re entitled to and, whilst they might not have been interested before, they may now see your healthcare plans as a real help to their current financial situation.

Plans make financial sense to all pet owners and by having visible reminders in reception and talking to your clients regularly about them you are giving them the opportunity to make an informed decision. If you add home delivery to plans this increases uptake and reduces cancellations significantly. CLICK HERE for information on how to set up home delivery easily and quickly. For more details see our latest blog.

As the BMA submission to CMA states, “Widely available pet health schemes provided by many practices allow the cost of preventative pet health care to be spread over a period of time.” 2

Click below for further information on the benefits of healthcare plans to clients.

Person paying using contactless

Here are some tips on when to promote your plans

  • When clients bring their pets in for vaccinations
  • When clients come in to buy flea and worm treatments

These products are included in your plan so, rather than paying in full they can pay their first instalment and avoid a one off, larger payment.

  • When clients pay for things that your plan offers discounts on.

You will probably have a selection of products and services that have discounts applied for plan members. If a pet owner has a large bill to pay, a discount on some or all that cost can be a very welcome help.

Don’t feel awkward about mentioning plans more than once to clients – your plan is of great value to all clients that want to protect their pets from illness and disease.  

If you don’t currently offer plans to your clients or would like some advice on how to comfortably introduce them in a relevant and timely way click here.

       If you’d like to learn more about healthcare plan management or how to grow your practice, click here.

 1 UK Petfood annual pet survey 2023

2 BVA – CMA submission October 2023