Caring for Fido, Fifi and Kermit

Despite the recession and cuts in discretionary spending, the pet industry is robust and resilient, according the American Pet Products Association, reports dogchannel.com. Total pet spending reached $43.2 billion in 2008, with no declines in any category from 2007, and APPA forecasts total pet spending for 2009 will reach $45.4 billion.

In 2008, veterinary care spending was $11.1 billion and included services such as CAT scans, root canals, cancer surgery, antibiotics, and grief counseling. This leads to 9.9 percent anticipated growth in this category to $12.2 billion in 2009. Pet insurance (estimated at $27.1 million) is projected to grow to $500 million by 2012. Pet services – grooming, boarding, training, and pet sitting are the next fastest growing category. Total spending reached $3.2 billion in 2008, and the category is expected to grow 5.9 percent to reach $3.4 billion in 2009.

Other categories include pet food, which reached $16.8 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow 3.6 percent to $17.4 billion in 2009, supplies and over the counter medication, which reached $10 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow 2.1 percent to $10.2 billion in 2009, and live animal purchases, which reached $2.1 billion in 2008 and is expected to grow 4.7 percent to $2.2 billion in 2009.

“These numbers further demonstrate that people are more willing to sacrifice on themselves before trimming back on their four-legged friends,” said Bob Vetere, APPA president. “People want to reward their pets in human terms and even in this economy are still demanding the highest quality products and services.”

Yes, pets are truly part of the family, as I tell my two 22-year-old frogs Kermit and Prince every morning when I feed them, but the chubby ones seem less than enthusiastic about dieting with me to lose weight.