March 13, 2014
Americans spent an all-time high of $55.7 billion on their pets in 2013, and spending will likely creep close to $60 billion this year. Overall pet spending has not dipped since record-keeping started, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Last year, a total of $21.57 billion went towards feeding pets. The not-for-profit trade association has been tracking industry figures since 1996, when total pet spending was just $21 billion.
The humanization of our pets started about 20 years ago, industry spokesman Bob Vetere said in a telephone interview to the Associated Press. As people made pets more important parts of their families, manufacturers introduced products that, in the beginning, helped the animals make their move from the backyard to the front room.
"What is feeding a large part of the growth now are the baby boomers who have become empty-nesters and are looking for some other ways to find the love and affection they used to get from their kids," Vetere said.
People have always spent more on food than any other pet spending category and pet food trends follow human food and diet trends, he said.
Sales numbers show owners are buying more age-specific, breed-specific, vitamin-infused or additive-enhanced foods, Vetere said
Other spending included $14.37 billion for veterinary care; $13.14 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medicines; $2.23 billion for live animal purchases; and $4.41 billion for other services.
American pets include an estimated 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs, the APPA said. There are also 20.6 million birds, 8.3 million horses, 145 million freshwater fish, 13.6 million saltwater fish, 11.6 million reptiles and 18.1 million small animals.