Pet Lovers in the United States
Spent $72.56 Billion on their Pets in 2018
Peter H. Eeg DVM
Poolesville Veterinary Clinic
When it comes to providing food, health care and other necessities for our pets, we apparently aren’t skimping. A new analysis shows we spent $3 billion more on our pets in 2018 than we did the year before.
American Pet Products Association released its annual industry-wide report, which shows pet lovers in the United States spent $72.56 billion on their pets in 2018. The numbers reflect a 4 percent increase over 2017 expenditures of $69.51 billion.
The food category easily topped the list of expenses. We spent more than $30 billion on kibble and specialty food, a 4.3 percent increase from the year before. The report projects that this year, we’ll spend almost $32 billion.
Our next biggest expenditure was veterinary care at a little more than $18 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent over 2017’s costs. But according to the report, it’s not the cost of health care that accounts for the increase. The overall cost of pet health care has dropped, making care accessible to more people and increasing the frequency of vet visits.
The report projects that the pet insurance trend will continue to increase, with pets living longer and requiring more complex and extended medical care.
Scientific research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute shows that the bond formed between people and their pets yields valid health benefits to both pets and their owners. It’s a partnership; if you take care of your pets’ health, they’re going to take care of yours.
In the category of over-the-counter medications and supplies, the figures rose 6 percent, to a little more than $16 billion. Supplies include pet beds, collars, leashes, toys, travel items, clothing, food and water bowls, pet tech products and other accessories.
We spent a little more than $2 billion on buying pets, down 4.3 percent, and $6.11 billion on other services.
Whether you purchase a pet from a breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue group appears to fall along generational lines.
Millennials are more likely to adopt at shelters and rescues, and they are three times more likely to patronize independent pet stores. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers look more toward breeders, according to the report.
It’s clear that giving pets the best lives possible is still a top priority for pet owners, and they’re willing to spend more on the quality products and services they consume, if it means more quality time with their beloved furry friends.