$47.7 Billion Spent on Pets: 2010 Estimate

by Mary Haight on February 11, 2011

Money Grab

Image by Steve Wampler via Flickr

US spending on pets has risen consistently since 2007 by $2 billion plus per year.  American Pet Product Association projections have been confirmed year-over-year, and this recent 2009/2010 spending estimate of $47.7 billion may prove to be the same,  or close if there’s an upside surprise.  Given the overall health of the pet industry and the trend of traditional retailers like Old Navy, Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, designers, and others joining in and expanding their offerings in the pet supplies business, I am left wondering if Wal-Mart actually achieved their 5-year target of 30%  market share set in 2005.  They hit the 25% mark in 2008 offering a discount of 20% less over the competition.

We pamper our pets when we can. Often they get the best of what we have to give, and before we spend on ourselves, the dog will have those special treats he enjoys so much, the pricey organic bully stick, or the gel that keeps his teeth clean and bacteria levels down. We may take better care of our dog’s health than our own.  Even with the numbers of home foreclosures and the reports of dogs being reliquished to shelters, the number of pets owned has not changed since the last report. Hmmm. There are 93.6 million cats in households and 77.5 million dogs. The number of households owning all those pets are 38.2 million have cats and 45.6 million households have dogs, also unchanged. 

Each of the top five categories saw increases in spending from 2009 – 2010:  

2010 Estimated Spending $47.7 Billion:

Food                                                                $18.28 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine                           $11.01 billion
Vet Care                                                         $12.79 billion
Live animal purchases                             $2.21 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding     $3.45 billion 

Compared to Actual Sales U.S. Market 2009:

$45.5 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S.

Food                                                                $17.56 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine                           $10.41 billion
Vet Care                                                         $12.04 billion
Live animal purchases                             $2.16 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding    $3.36 billion   

Basic annual expenses survey yielded this for 2010:
                                                      Dogs     Cats   
Surgical Vet Visits                 $532     $278      
Food                                            $229     $203      
Kennel Boarding                     $273     $255      
Routine Vet                               $225     $203      
Groomer/Grooming Aids        $66      $22
Vitamins                                         $61       $28
Food Treats                                    $64      $37
Toys                                                  $40       $19 

 Compared to last report:

                                                    Dogs   Cats

Surgical Vet Visits               453      363
Food                                          217      188
Kennel Boarding                   225      149
Routine Vet                             219      175
Groomer/Grooming Aids  127        18
Vitamins                                     77        31
Treats                                           66       40
Toys                                              41        26

 (Source: APPA)

Some major trends reported reflect what we in this niche are aways talking about: Organics, greening our pets lives, pet-friendly travel with hotels that cater to dog owners, and because it’s becoming easier to travel with pets, there are an increasing number of families taking Boodles along for the road or plane trip. More interesting perhaps are the hotels that have quit the dog weight limits like Kimpton, and others that have higher weight limits than the under 25lbs crowd like W and Westin with limits from 50 to 80 lbs.  

The strength of the pet industry across this downturn has been remarkable to outsiders, but those in the industry know it’s all about the love we have for our pets.  While some incidentals dropped in both Dog and Cat categories (grooming, vitamins, treats, toys), more was spent on Vet care.  What trends did you find interesting?

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A 2 billion increase (making the grand total 47.7 billion) seems like about twice what consumer inflation would allow.


Although I've never calculated the amount, I would guess that my expenditures on my pets would fall in line with Pamela's. As a pet sitter, all I can say is I am glad people continue to spend on their pets! :)


These are interesting statistics -- and encouraging to me as I am currently expanding my petsitting business! :) I know I spent more on medical care for one of my cats than for myself last year, so at least I am not far from the norm! Thanks for the post.


I've read articles recently about this too. I even copied down the number that people spend on their pets. I have a blog called Carol's Critter Corner and it's all about saving on your pets needs. I've had to cut down on my spending because I became disabled four years ago. I didn't know what a blog was and I didn't use coupons or make a list to go shopping. Then I started following frugal blogs and have become a connoisseur on saving. I've had to. But I enjoy it and love to help others do the same. I am currently helping a couple of friends of mine on the ropes of learning how to do it. Thanks for this article. I think it will surprise a lot of people. I've even made the goal of not getting any more pets. My goal one dog and two cats. I don't want it that way but I have to. Of course I won't give away my kitties or dogs but it will go down in the natural way. Carol


When we reviewed our spending for 2010, we found our dog Honey was our third biggest expenditure after our mortgage and charity (thank goodness). Of course, her high position in the rankings was due to her needing emergency squeaker removal surgery but I guess that's the point. It wasn't even a question of paying for her surgery. I better make sure my husband doesn't see this post. Every time we walk into our local pet supply, he says, "I gotta find some way to make lots of money off of crazy dog people." I hate to remind him we are the crazy dog people.

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