Decades ago we called our dog Fido. Now he is Frank and so too is our child.
According to rover.com (smiles–not sure about academic rigor) the most popular baby names are among the top names for dogs:
Perhaps knowing what we name our pets can explain what we spend.
1. More households own dogs than cats and fish.
At 60.2 million homes for dogs and 47.1 million for cats, you can see that dogs are substantially in the lead:
2. However, by numbers alone, dogs are #3.
We own millions more freshwater fish:
3. The amount we spend on pets has steadily climbed.
This year we’ve spent an estimated at $72.13 billion on our pets. Last year, the total was $69.51 billion. In 1994, it was $17 billion (the same as $25.4 billion today according to the CPI inflation calculator).
4. We spend the most on feeding our pets.
5. Compared to cats (and I guess fish), dogs are most expensive.
These are some typical basic annual expenses:
6. Our animal healthcare spending patterns resemble what we spend on ourselves.
Yes, we are spending more on healthcare for our pets. And like humans, that spending accelerates just before death:
Our Bottom Line: Consumer Spending
Included in the entertainment category of consumer spending, pet expenditures are soaring. During the Great Recession (12/2007-6/2009), when our restaurant spending went down, our pet food spending remained constant.
At $710 annually, what we spend on our pets exceeds our cable/satellite bills:
I suspect that once our pet names changed, so too did our spending .
My sources and more: For even more detail, I suggest this NY Times article on pet insurance, this one on pampering, and this Quartz column too. Meanwhile, for the stats, I recommend the American Pet Products Association and the Insurance Information Institute, Then, for still more, this paper was an excellent source for the human side of animal healthcare as was this 2013 BLS report on pet spending. You also might want to go to rover.com. It was fun.
A final note: My cat’s name is Scarlet and she is staring at the screen and purring as I type this.