Pet ownership, spending on the rise
By Janis Fontaine
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 26, 2005
A new survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) shows that pet ownership is at an all-time high with about 63 percent of all U.S. households owning a pet.
That means more than 69 million households own 73 million dogs, 90 million cats, 139 million freshwater fish, 9 million saltwater fish, 16 million birds, 18 million small animals and 11 million reptiles.
Ownership is up from 64 million households in 2002 and 51 million in 1988 when the APPMA began tracking pet trends. Here are the highlights from the 375 page survey:
â€¢ Nearly all pet owners say companionship, love, company and affection are the number one benefits to owning a pet.
â€¢ Fifty-nine percent say pets are good for their health and the health of their family and help them relax.
â€¢ Forty percent say that owning a dog motivates them to exercise on a regular basis.
â€¢ Three-quarters of dog owners consider their dog like a child or family member and more than half of cat owners say the same.
â€¢ According to the demographics of the survey, the person most responsible for purchasing pet products is a 46-year-old woman. This may be the reason gift giving to pets continues to rise with eight out of 10 dog owners buying dog gifts and 63 percent of cat owners purchasing gifts for the family feline. In addition to Christmas gifts, pet owners also buy gifts for birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Hanukkah and on no special occasion.
â€¢ On the average, $17 is spent per gift.
â€¢ And speaking of gifts, there’s a new trend of having birthday parties for pets. About 9 percent of dog and 5 percent of cat owners host birthday parties for their pets.
â€¢ No kennels for these dogs. More dog owners â€” 19 percent, up from 16 percent in 2002 â€” are taking the family pet along when they hit the road.
â€¢ The majority of dogs and cats sleep indoors, some on on blankets or in their own beds, but many sharing their owner’s bed.
â€¢ Pet owners are paying more attention to nutrition and more people are buying pricey gourmet foods for their dogs. More owners give their pets vitamin and mineral nutritional supplements. One percent of dog owners feed their dogs kosher food. Fewer households are using Fido as a garbage disposal and feeding them table scraps.
â€¢ Obesity is a concern among pet owners. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences estimates at least 25 percent of dogs and cats are obese, making reduced calorie foods an important new market.
â€¢ The number of dog and cat owners who have health insurance for their pets has increased from 2 percent to 3 percent of dog owners and to over one percent of cat owners, up from less than one percent in 2002.
â€¢ Alternative health care, especially homeopathic remedies, is on the rise, up to 3 percent from 2 for dogs and up to 9 percent from 2 percent for cats.
â€¢ Dental care is on the rise, too, with new products flooding the market, including toothpaste, whitening strips, mouthwash and orthodontic products.
â€¢ Eighty-eight percent of dog owners, 65 percent of cat owners, 73 percent of bird owners and 75 percent of small animal owners give treats.
â€¢ Internet information continues to climb steadily, although most pet owners still rely on their veterinarian for information.
â€¢ As for leisure activities, hanging out with one’s pet is a favorite way to spend free time.
â€¢ Marking the loss of a beloved pet is on the rise, with many more options today than a few years ago. Urns and remembrance memorials are more popular, but the most unusual way of remembering a pet may be the creation of a diamond from the pet’s remains. Rings can cost $2,500 for a half-carat stone. Twenty percent of all created diamonds have been made from a pet’s remains. About 10 percent of dog and cat owners will purchase a headstone for their pet’s final resting place.
Founded in 1958, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association is the nation’s leading not-for-profit trade organization serving the interests of the pet product industry and educating the public on the many joys and health benefits associated with pet ownership. APPMA conducts a comprehensive survey of pet owners every two years. The complete 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey with more than 375 pages of information retails for $895 and can be purchased at www.appma.org.