Americans spend billions on their pets


More than $21 billion was spent on pet food last year. Other sums went to silly-looking clothes — at least, they look silly to some humans. We don’t know what the pets think of them. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)
March 19

Americans pamper their pets. They buy them fancy food, tons of toys and silly-looking clothes. In addition to having veterinarians, pets often have groomers, trainers, sitters and walkers.

That adds up to lots of money. Americans spent an all-time high $55.7 billion on their pets last year, and spending will creep close to $60 billion this year, the American Pet Products Association reported last week.

The biggest chunk of 2013 spending, $21.6 billion, went for food — a lot of it more expensive, healthful grub.

“In the past, children were a reflection of us, and people are now extending that to their pets,” said Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian in San Diego, California.

Services such as grooming, boarding, training and pet-sitting grew by 6.1 percent last year.

American pets include an estimated 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats, the association said. Other popular pets are freshwater fish (145 million), birds (20.6 million) and small mammals (18.1 million).

Associated Press

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