Strapped consumers still forking over thousands on pet care

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Not everyone’s sick enough to kill off their pooch to make a quick buck.

Pet owners coughed up an average of $505 taking their pets to the vet last year, according to a new poll.

About 80 percent of pet owners paid for vet visits in 2011 and 13 percent said they paid more than $1,000 on bills.

Dog lovers visited vets more frequently (85 percent) than cat owners (79 percent) and over half of those polled said they only paid for care for life-threatening illnesses.

Despite tightened purse strings, most said they were willing to pay for pricey treatments because they trusted their vets, according to the poll.

As the cost of pet medical care continues to rise, many cash-strapped consumers are opting to forgo frequent vet visits. Fourty-one percent of those polled that made under $50,000 said they couldn’t afford petcare.

In fact, from 1994 to 2010, the American Pet Products Association reports the pet care industry jumped a whopping $31.53 billion dollars.

People will spend about $50.84 billion dollars on their pets in 2011 alone, up from $48.3 billion in 2010, according to APPA.

Now see 8 ways to keep your pet out of the ER >

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