The price of unconditional love: Consumer decision making for high-dollar veterinary care
Animal companions play an increasingly important role in consumers' lives, and therefore many pets receive acceptance and treatment as members of the family. As the human-animal bond increases, so does consumer spending on pets, including that on high-dollar veterinary care. Unlike human health care, however, consumers must directly pay for the majority of high-dollar veterinary care. When an animal companion is ill, the consumer faces a stressful decision of whether even to engage in the treatment, along with the hardship of paying for it. Despite a rudimentary understanding of the factors relevant in the decision-making process regarding high-dollar veterinary care, knowledge is lacking about this often heart-wrenching choice. Using a depth-interview method, this study examines the decision-making process consumers go through when facing expensive medical treatment for their pets. The research results in an expansion of three a priori themes and the discovery and discussion of three factors that influence consumer decisions about veterinary care across all three themes.
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