Pet owners are going to great lengths — and spending tens of thousands of dollars — to provide advanced care for their four-legged friends.
So with veterinary costs rising, more Americans are enrolling in pet health insurance plans to take away some of the financial strain that comes with extending the lives of their furry loved ones.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, a trade group representing 12 companies that sell pet insurance, about 1.4 million pets were insured in the U.S. in 2015. That's up 12 percent from 2014.
The increase comes as Americans' vet bills are stacking up. Over the past four years, vet care spending has risen nearly 14 percent, including a 2.5 percent jump to $15.4 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association. The organization predicts another increase this year, forecasting owners will spend nearly $16 billion in 2016. That number would be even higher if it included pet medicines.
After food, vet care is the second-highest source of pet spending.
"There are more than a dozen companies out there that offer pet insurance now and it's ever expanding," said Mandy Walker, an editor at Consumer Reports, which recently studied pet insurance.
There are a number of factors that influence how much an owner would need to pay to cover their pet. Premiums vary depending on the pet (for example, dogs are more expensive), as well as their age, breed and location.