People have cherished their pets for centuries. Animals once were the exclusive property of royalty and a symbol of luxury. Now, they are beloved family members. And Americans don’t contain their love for their animals or limit their pet spending.
The American Pet Production Association released figures showing spending on pets has grown by nearly $3 billion to reach $72 billion in 2018. That’s up from $69.5 billion in 2017. The industry tracks pet spending in food, veterinary care, and other services.
Pet industry spending breakdown
|Category||2016 actual||2017 actual||% growth
2017 vs. 2016
|2018 estimate||% growth
2018 vs. 2017
|Food||$28.23 billion||$29.07 billion||2.9%||$29.88 billion||2.7%|
|Supplies/OTC medications||$14.71 billion||$15.11 billion||2.7%||$15.51 billion||2.7%|
|Veterinary care||$15.95 billion||$17.07 billion||7.0%||$18.26 billion||6.9%|
|Live animal purchases||$2.1 billion||$2.1 billion||0%||$2.01 billion||-4.2%|
|Other services||$5.76 billion||$6.16 billion||6.9%||$6.47 billion||5.0%|
|Total||$66.75 billion||$69.51 billion||4.1%||$72.13 billion||3.7%|
Millennials are among the highest spenders when it comes to their pets. The generation considers pets as irreplaceable family members and will go to great lengths to ensure the well-being of their beloved pets. They will pay for quality products if it means making their pet’s life easier. And doing that is more expensive now than ever as the industry cashes on this exact sentiment to make profits.
Ownership of emotional support dogs, animals explicitly trained to provide love and support, also is climbing. These dogs can help owners suffering from anxiety, phobias, mood disorders and depression among other conditions. Millennials have been the most outspoken generation about mental ailments. Their vocal support for seeking help and spreading awareness has contributed to the popularity of emotional support dogs. As a result, the cost of owning an emotional support dog or any other emotional support animal has never been higher.
What are they buying?
Food and related expenses continue to drive pet spending. Premium pet foods are the most popular.
Although dog owners could make pet food, most choose the convenience of commercial dog food. And just as people are becoming more demanding about the quality of their food, they also are showing that same focus for their dogs. The demand for locally-sourced, natural and organic food, treats, and chews have never been higher.
Americans are expected to spend even more in the future as they seek food to meet the dietary demands of specific breeds or the health conditions of their dogs.
With a staggering $18.11 billion figure, vet care is the next in line for pet spending. That amount isn’t surprising, considering the high costs humans have to pay for their health care.
Regular health checkups help ensure dogs live long, healthy lives.
On the flip side, services for walking, grooming, training and pet sitting saw a slight dip in sales.
Live animal purchases also declined, which may be a sign people are more likely to turn to shelters and rescues rather than buy their pets.
Americans love their pets, and they aren’t shy about shelling out billions in pet spending to give their animals the best lives possible.
Josh Cobbe, the admin of petdogplanet.com, is a full-time professional writer. He occasionally shares his insights and experience on other pet-related blogs.