A worthwhile investment: Americans spend billions on pets

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“The pet humanization trend is alive and well and continues to drive growth at the premium end of the market.” – Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association

It’s old news by now. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s something that definitely bears repeating.

Last year, Americans spent a record-setting $60.28 billion on our pets. The total amount falls just a little bit short of the target set by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), but it is impressive nevertheless.

Money Matters

A breakdown provided by the APPA shows that we spent the most on pet food ($23.05 billion); followed by supplies and over-the-counter medications ($14.28 billion). Veterinary care accounted for $15.42 billion in expenditures. But the area that reflected the greatest growth in spending compared to 2014 was “other services.”

In a March 17 press release, the APPA explained just what this category covers. Items classified as “other services” include grooming, boarding, walking, training, pet sitting, exercise and yard services. Americans spent $5.41 billion on this sort of stuff last year, as compared to $4.84 billion in 2014, reflecting an 11.8 percent increase.

On the other hand, data provided by the APPA shows we bought fewer pets than we have in the past. The amount spent on “live animal purchases” dipped from $2.15 billion in 2014 to $2.12 billion last year.

Vetere said there are several explanations for the decline. One may be a “decline in pet types available from shelters or breeders.” Another is a “growing number of pet sale bans.” Finally, pets are living longer due to “improved healthcare,” Vetere added.

In My Humble Opinion

Personally, I would love to get another pet. But right now that’s simply out of the question. For one thing, Eli is definitely an “only child.” He’s also a handful.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

As many of you know, he had a cancer scare earlier this year. Diagnosis and treatment required several trips to the veterinarian — including one for the surgical removal of a small tumor on his back — in just a few weeks. Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly inexpensive — but it was definitely worthwhile. I am happy to say that the type of tumor he had was fairly benign and is unlikely to recur. I am also happy to say he’s made a complete recovery and is back to his feisty self.

Frankly I’ve lost count of how much we spend on food, cat litter, etc. I’ve also forgotten how much we spent on a live-in pet sitter when we went out of the country for three weeks last year — but that wasn’t exactly inexpensive either.

But at the end of the day, Eli is happy and healthy. And as far as I am concerned, that’s priceless.