Despite Economy, Pet Care Spending is on the Rise

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About 73 million US households (or about two-thirds) include one or more pets. Despite the struggling economy, a recent survey found Americans digging deep in their pockets and spending more than ever on pet care.

According to American Pet Products Association (APPA), between two and five percent of pet owners say in 2010 they doled out more dollars than they did in previous years. Where are they spending their money? Respondents indicated they directed their spending to toys, treats, pet insurance, specialty food, and yes….even parties. In fact, there are actual “steps” available for throwing a successful party for your cat. Who knew?

“Although the economy has been a major factor for many industries, the pet industry continues to see unprecedented growth,” said APPA President Bob Vetere. The survey indicated the primary reasons Americans own pets are companionship and love, although dog owners also cited exercise and stress relief.

As far as medical care is concerned, 13 percent of cat owners say their cat’s medical care would come before their own. Pet owners are estimated to spend 12.2 billion on veterinary costs in 2011. This figure is up from 11 billion last year and a considerable jump from 8.2 billion five years ago. Specifically, cats are heading to the vet more often than ever, averaging 2.4 visits in 2010, compared to 2.1 in 2008. Additionally, $423 was the average cat surgery cost last year; a significant increase from $278 in 2008.

Although the numbers speak for themselves, it’s no secret some families are still struggling to keep the lights on and put food on the table. Thankfully, the services of pet food pantries like the one in Simi Valley are available so families can continue to care for their beloved pets, even in the face of financial woes. The Humane Society of the United States also offers suggestions for pet owners who find the costs of veterinary care are beyond their budgetary abilities.

Whether families are part of the pet care spending boom or are simply struggling to provide their animals with basic needs, it’s clear pet owners across the US are more dedicated than ever to their cherished family members.

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