The one common subject that everyone in America can talk about is the current state of our economy. Complete strangers can easily relate because of people they know who have been laid off from their jobs, hardships they have faced, or cutbacks they have made.
Oddly enough, one of the few areas in which people do not seem to be tightening their purse strings is when it comes to their pet. With both Petco and Petsmart seeing consumer spending increase at a rate above 4 percent, it looks as though people are cutting back on their personal necessities and luxuries before sacrificing their pets’ needs.
In a recently released poll, which combined data gathered from more than 1 million people along with consumer spending habit statistics, Mint.com broke down the average pet guardian’s expenses throughout the year. The canine is still king, as more than 38 percent of Americans have a dog roaming the house, with the furry feline coming in second at just a shade less than 34 percent. Fish, birds, rabbits, hamsters, lizards, and others make up the final percentage, and each guardian is dropping an average of $120 every month on their pets.
With a willingness to spend $1,445 every year on our pets, why is it that we spend seemingly without restraint on our beloved animals? For most it is easy. The money spent is a small price to pay in comparison to the joy we get back. We are rewarded with wagging tails when we bring home a new toy or even walk through the front door. Our laps are kept warm after dinner as we sit on the couch and our houses are protected with barks, yaps, and hisses while we are away.
But the most important gift our pets offer is simple companionship and acceptance. In the survey, 94 percent said that their pet makes them smile more than once a day. That is quite an accomplishment, considering the fact that it seems worrying has become our national pastime.
Food, toys, veterinary care, and everything in between are seen as no cost to pet guardians across the country, but some are still forced to make the tough choice between providing for their pet or giving Fido up to allow someone more capable to provide. Many pets are taken back, given to shelters, or just abandoned, and if we can spare enough to spend on our dogs and cats, maybe we should set aside some money every month to help those who are not as lucky as our pets. —Brendan Quealy