Pet ownership in the United States has skyrocketed over the past decade. Americans in records numbers have taken a variety of animals into their homes and hearts. According to various industry sources, over seventy million homes in the U.S. have some kind of pet. This is equal to over sixty percent of all American households. Pet ownership has expanded over the last twenty years up from fifty six percent of American households to over sixty three percent. In short, Americans are pet people and we are spending more on our animal companions then ever before.
Pet products and services have become more sophisticated, and expensive, especially when it comes to veterinary services. The types of medical services that are available for our furry companions have gone way beyond just shots and checkups. Diseases and medical conditions such as cataracts, obesity, cancer, and arthritis are being treated with state of the art techniques once reserved for humans. Eye surgery, chemotherapy, and joint replacements are available for pets whose owners have the means to pay for and access to those services.
Overall, spending on pet care has grown from just over seventeen billion dollars per year in nineteen ninety four, to an estimated forty three billion dollars in two thousand and seven. Of all the money we spend on our animal companions every year, almost eleven billion is spent on veterinary care.
Gourmet Food Goes To the Dogs and Cats
As if spending almost eleven billion dollars on medical care was not enough, the amount Americans spend on pet food is even more impressive. According to industry estimates, Americans will spend close to seventeen billion dollars on food for their furry friends. Part of the rise in spending can be attributed to the higher quality of foods and treats available. The market for natural and gourmet pet foods has grown for several reasons. Concerns about the purity and composition of pet food, more Americans are opting to give their pets the best.
The standards for what the word natural really means when it comes to pets is still being debated. Even the standards for natural human food have not been established beyond that claims of the producer. Organic foods, whether for human or animal consumption, have standards that are more clearly defined.
Regardless of the type of food we serve our animal friends, most Americans are definitely concerned about the type of food their pet eats and are responding in a positive way to what the pet food market has to offer.
Cats and Dogs Living Together
We love our dogs and they love us in return. Not to be outdone, cats do have the edge when it comes to popularity. It is estimated that Americans own over eighty eight million cats compared to around seventy five million dogs. Though dogs and cats are often thought of as polar opposites when it comes to living together, many households have both dogs and cats. In our house, the dogs more than tolerate their feline roommates, often showing them a great deal of love and affection. In an amusing twist on feline stereotypes, some of our cats actually seek the attention of their canine friends.
Fashionable Felines and Dapper Dogs
Household names like Old Navy and even some motorcycle manufacturers are beginning to offer clothing fashions for our pets. Glamorous booties for your beagle and fashionable coats for your collie are being sold by clothing labels that previously marketed only to humans. From Labrador lounge jackets to raincoats for a redbone hound, many owners are turning their pets into veritable fashion plates. Most cats would probably not know the difference between a luxury Louis Vuitton carry bag and a cotton sack. The difference is certainly noticeable to some pet people, since owners make the purchasing decisions.
A silver bling collar would go unnoticed by my dogs, since they are just happy to be going out. No, the bling would have more to do with my desire to make a fashion statement with my dog. Still, my Cocker Spaniel would look pretty fly in a fashion collar and matching jacket.
Sweet Doggie Dreams
Americans pamper their dogs and cats are other ways that go beyond fashion. The simple pet has been transformed into a warm, plush retreat. Using materials that can be found in bedding products for humans, pet beds have benefited from advancements in materials and technology. A popular material for pet bedding is visco elastic memory foam. This material was originally developed for use by manned space flight crews, though it was never used in space. This unique foam has been used human sleep systems for many years and is making its way into pet beds.
Like memory foam, heated pet beds are gaining in popularity, and not just for the average pet. Older pets often develop the same maladies that effect humans, such as arthritis. The comfort of a heated bed or a bed topped with memory foam can be very therapeutic for pets suffering from muscular skeletal conditions.
The Traveling Pet
Our pets are also enjoying the rise in the number of pet carriers and joggers on the market. Taking Fido on a bicycle ride has never been easier. Sales of tow behind pet carriers for use almost any bike have been growing steadily the last few years. Though most of us choose to board our pets when going on vacation, traveling with our pets had gotten more convenient. Many hotel chains offer pet friendly accommodations in response to more and more folks taking their pets on the road.
Even our waterborne pets are benefiting from the increase in pet spending. Novelty and designer aquariums are taking fish enthusiasts by storm. Self contained and highly decorative, sales of novelty aquariums are predicted to continuing growing.