According to “Business Week“, Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets – more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That’s double the amount spent on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years. That puts the yearly cost of feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined!
It wasn’t so very long ago that the phrase “a dog’s life” meant sleeping outside, enduring the elements, living with aches, and sitting by the dinner table, waiting for a few scraps to land on the floor. Today’s dog has it much better. Today, according to surveys, 42% of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners, up from 34% in 1998. The menu for both dogs and cats reflects every fad in human food – from locally sourced organic meat and vegan snacks to gourmet meals bolstered by healthy supplements like glucosamine to ward off stiff joints. Half of all dog owners say they consider their pet’s comfort when buying a car, and almost a third of buy gifts for their dog’s and/or cat’s birthday. And you’ll notice that nobody uses the word pet “owner” anymore – we who live with pets know very well who owns who!
We personally consider this all to be good news. But the best news of all is that all this human-quality care has helped to radically extend the life span of pets. Even larger dogs routinely live 12 to 14 years now, and the average is considerably longer for smaller breeds, a big jump from the average a few decades ago. So you see the more we improve their lives, the longer they live, and the longer they can continue to improve our lives. So don’t be ashamed to spoil your pet – they deserve it, and you’re not alone!