Fluffy and Fido cost a pretty penny, according to a recent report from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). After crunching the numbers, the APPA projected that Americans will spend an astounding $60.59 billion on food, veterinary care, and supplies in 2015 — up more than $2 billion from the $58 billion spent on pets in 2014.
All of this begs the question: Where is all this money going? The report shows overall pet spending is spread across a number of expenses, such as food, supplies, veterinary care, live animal purchases, and pet services such as grooming and boarding.
About 80 million American households (65%) owned a pet in 2015, and dogs were the most popular household pet by far, at 54.4 million households, with cats (42.9 million) close behind. Other common pets included freshwater fish (12.3 million), birds (6.1 million), and other small animals such as gerbils, guinea pigs, and hamsters (5.4 million).
On average, dog- and cat-loving households spent approximately $551 and $398, respectively, on surgical vet visits for dogs and cats, plus $239 and $196 for dog- and cat-related routine veterinary care. In total, the APPA estimates that the average family will spend $1,641 on each dog and $1,125 per cat in 2015 — more than the median savings rate in the U.S. last year, which happens to be zero.
What’s Driving Up the Costs of Pet Ownership?
While the cost of kibble, a rope, and a tennis ball hasn’t risen significantly in years, the costs of veterinary care have risen faster than inflation, notes the report. Further, an array of “luxury” pet services have driven up costs as well, from in-home dog-walking to doggy day care, pet wellness classes, and upscale grooming and boarding services.
A December 2015 report from IBIS World predicts that pet owners will continue to invest in these premium services and products as the economy improves. Where the family dog was once an addition to the family, many people are now calling themselves “pet parents” and treating their four-legged friends as if they were their own offspring. From the report:
“The emerging trend of pet parents has bolstered demand for price-premium pet products and services. Since pets are treated as family members, pet owners frequently lavish them with all-natural and organic pet foods and treats, in addition to high-end services. Examples of pet services go beyond the traditional grooming, dog walking and training; today, premium services, such as pet therapy sessions and pet-only flights, are available for four-legged family members. This is the case particularly for dog and cat owners.”
Because of these trends and a predicted increase in disposable income, IBIS World predicts that profit margins in the pet-care industry could increase from 5.5% in 2010 to 8.2% in 2015.
Pets are part of the family, and it can be tempting to spoil them with largely unnecessary new products, from gourmet doggie snacks to upscale accessories. Photo: Rain0975