Americans spent $50 billion on their pets in 2011 -- actually, $50.96 billion, an all-time high and an increase of more than 5 percent over the previous year.
Where'd all that money go? The single biggest pet expense is food; almost half the nation's spending on "household animals" went towards feeding the critters. Food and vet expenses together accounted for 65 percent of the total. (The $50 billion figure also includes purchases of the animals themselves, which bore a $2.13 billion price tag in 2011.)
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But the fastest-growing category of pet expenses is "services" -- things like grooming, doggie daycares, spas, and pet hotels. Such services might seem like unnecessary luxuries in this economy, but pet owners didn't agree; the sector grew nearly 8 percent over last year. APPA president Bob Vetere said he expected similar growth or better for pet services in 2012, and that we'll probably see more money spent on pet insurance.
The APPA did point to some areas of slowdown; their numbers indicated that animal sales and adoptions have tailed off, as well as the number of owners switching to higher-end food brands. But the pet-care industry continues to attract entrepreneurs and inventors looking for the next product score, and investors who want to back the next big pet-related must-have. Hey, one Furminator patent and you're on easy street for life.
Do you find these numbers surprising? Did you spend more on your pets in 2011, or less? Where did the money go -- mostly food? medical expenses and insurance? or did you spoil your kitties and pooches with Kongs and Cat Dancers? Talk to us in the comments!
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