VetNetwork Blog

Is Increased Spending On Pets A Silver Lining?

2 Comments Posted by Mark Feltz in Pet Trends, What Your Clients Are Reading on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009.

Amidst all the gloomy economic news from across the world, there’s at least one silver lining: people are still spending a lot of money on their pets.

In a report from the Global Pet Expo in February, Dr. Marty Becker and Keith Turner from Pet Connection wrote that consumers spent more than $43 billion on pet food, supplies, medicine and veterinary care in 2008, a growth of 4.9 percent compared to the previous year. While growth in some areas, such as veterinary medicine, is down, overall spending on pets is up.

Those numbers come from the American Pet Products Association, which expects spending on pet-related products and services to increase in 2009. The APPA believes spending on pets will grow by about 3.9 percent to roughly $45.4 billion.

Consumers may be tightening their belts in some areas, but not, it seems, when it comes to pets. The APPA’s predictions are echoed by a recent study sponsored by Lifetime Networks. The cable network that’s home to “Golden Girls” reruns and old Tori Spelling TV-movies reports that 89 percent of the women they polled will spend the same amount of money or more on their pets in the next 12 months. Among the 359 women surveyed by telephone, 58 percent said they “always pamper their pets with the best products” and 37 percent admit that they’ve spent more than $100 on gifts for their pets.

The study was conducted throughout November 2008, just as the full effects of the current economic morass were starting to be felt, and so opinions on pet spending may have changed since then.

While plenty of people are still spending serious scratch on their pets, those animal companions whose owners haven’t a penny to spare face a more dire situation. As home foreclosures began to increase in 2008, the AVMA set up a FAQ page about “foreclosure pets” – animals left behind when a home goes into foreclosure. Since then, more and more people have lost their homes – and left pets behind in the process. Websites such as helpforeclosurepets.com and foreclosurepets.org have been created to combat the problem, but pets remain at risk. The continued growth of the pet products industry is somewhat of a silver lining in hard times, but it’s obscured by the growing number of other ways the economy is adversely affecting our pets.

2 Comments for Is Increased Spending On Pets A Silver Lining?

Thomas Dock | March 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm

This is a nice start to looking at what people are doing for the pets with the economy in a downturn.

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