Pets. We love ’em like family. In some cases, we love them more than many of our human family members. And it appears our love has a big price tag attached to it. In 2017, it is estimated that pet expenditures in the United States reached over $69 billion – that’s billion with a capital “B.”
Here’s how that breaks down: Almost $30 billion for food; $15 billion for supplies and medicine; $17 billion for vet care; and $2 billion in actual pet purchases. Plus, another $6 billion for miscellaneous items. Sixty-eight percent of households in the United States own a pet, which is equal to over 84 million homes. As you’d expect, cats and dogs make up most of our household pets, with cats leading the way at 94 million versus 89 million dogs.
Cats may be winning the race because it costs less money to take care of Fluffy than it does Rover. Everything is more expensive when it happens to your dog — from vet visits to food, boarding to vitamins. Plus, grooming and toys are more expensive for dogs as well. The grooming part is not surprising. But what is surprising is that anyone would attempt to groom a cat on a regular basis. That’s sheer madness in my book. And toys? Cats do not need toys – they need boxes…and paper towels and anything they can find in your dresser drawer. My two rescue kittens are going through a jewelry stage. If it’s jewelry — it’s theirs. I’ve tried hiding everything in a jewelry box, but there’s that magic cat word again: box. Every box is theirs. So, bye bye jewelry.
So why do we spare no expense for our fur babies? Besides the joy of pet ownership, there are numerous health benefits, as well. They range from improved heart health, lower blood pressure and a reduction in anxiety. Simply stroking a pet can lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to a calmer approach to life. It you own a fur baby, you’re also less likely to suffer from clinical depression. And in some cases, dogs can even help you get dates. If you’ve never tried it, I’ll give you some tips another time.
At the chamber, we share your love of pets. So, in November we’ll be hosting our first pet expo. We’re still ironing out the details, so stay tuned. We want to put you and your furry friends in touch with everything pet related. I think it will be just purr-fect.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.