A report from The American Pet Products Association (APPA) declares that about two-thirds of U.S. households own pets. It also states that pet-related spending is on the increase, the APPA estimates that a whopping $99 billion would be spent on pets this year. In 2019 this figure was $95.7 billion, and in 2018 it was about $90 billion.
It implies that in each of the last three years, Americans have spent on their pets alone, an amount higher than the combined GDP of 44 of the world’s poorest countries. While the illustration does an excellent job of putting in greater perspective the enormity of pet-related expenditure, it does not answer the question of why we spend so much on our furry friends.
One reason propounded for the massive amounts spent on pets is the improvement in food, health care, and other pet care related services. It stands to reason that these improvements will come at a higher cost to pet owners.
“A dog is man’s best friend.” This famous saying is not valid, at least not anymore. Dogs are no longer man’s best friends; they, along with cats, birds, hamsters, and fish, have moved into the house are now legitimate members of man’s family. This shift in mindset may seem subtle, but it is the second and more important reason for the high pet spending.
To reflect this change in ideology, referring to pets as children, and as siblings to their human children (if they are parents to human children) is now common-place among pet owners. Like every bonafide family member, pets are entitled to every benefit and privilege enjoyed by other members of the family. As a result, pets have seen significant enhancements in lifestyle.
The APPA reports that $36.9 billion was spent on food and treats in 2019, and $29.3 billion was spent on vet care, compared to $30.32 billion and $18.11 billion spent in 2018, on food and vet care respectively.
The increase in expenditure does not connote that pets are eating more; rather, the increase was due to Americans paying more for higher quality pet foods (with diets that closely resemble human diets; gluten-free and vegan). The same holds for vet care, as higher quality medicines are available from stores like EntirelyPets.
Aside from food and health, pet owners are also spending significant amounts to keep their pets in comfort, by indulging in such things as luxury beds, designer clothes, spa treatments and grooming, and vacations for their pets.
Undoubtedly, the amount of money pet owners spend is indeed large. Still, it is not money spent unwisely. Research shows that pets contribute significantly to the health and well being of their owners; they reduce anxiety and relieve stress. Pet owners, like most other people, are protective of the sources of their happiness and joy and do not mind spending high amounts because they understand that only healthy and comfortable pets can relieve stress and anxiety.