How America’s Love Of Cats And Dogs Became A $72 Billion Business

How America’s Love Of Cats And Dogs Became A $72 Billion Business

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Cute puppies, kittens,
Instagram dogs. Americans are spending more
and more on their pets. And at Morris Animal
Inn, cats are also vacationing in style. The inn offers
luxury accommodations, including condos and kitty suites with
plush beds and TVs. Meals for pets just like
this one made with human grade ingredients. That’s become
the standard for the emerging trend of
fresh dog food. U.S. pet spending hit
$72 billion in 2018. About $3 billion more
than the year before. And if you look at the
data since 1994, you can see how rapidly the
industry is growing. The pet industry’s growth
isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In the
United States, the number of dogs and cats could
increase faster than the human population, according
to one forecast. People are even taking out
pet insurance plans to help pay for medical
procedures and help their pets live longer. Here’s
how Americans’ love for pets turned into
big business. Americans love pets. In 2018, about two out
of every three U.S. households owned a pet. Dogs and cats remain
the two most popular companion animals in U.S. homes. Birds and horses come
in at a distant third and fourth
on that list. The number of cats and
dogs in the United States is predicted to increase at
a faster rate in the U.S. population in the five
years from 2019 to 2024. Humans and their pets
are attached at the hip. Once a clear
delineation between master and servant, the human pet
relationship has changed significantly over the last
30 years and brought humans and animals
far closer together. Years ago, we didn’t
fully understand animal welfare as well as
we do now. So what people did
with their animals before, which was commonly accepted,
might, for instance, include things like tying your
dog outside to a dog house. We now see
that that’s not really appropriate to just tie a
dog out there for a number of reasons, not least
of which is that there are weather issues and
the dog is not getting enough
social interaction. I think through our
advanced understanding of animal welfare, we’re starting
to realize that these are social creatures
that want to spend time with us. That
was Nancy Gee. In 2017, she and Rebecca
Fox published a paper in which they concluded that
since the late 20th century in Great
Britain, the relationship between humans and animals
had become more intense and responsible. People are seeing maybe their
pets more as not necessarily humans, but maybe
as part of the family. Sort of recognizing
that they’re not just an animal, but that
they’re an important individual who is important
within the family, that kind of thing. And I’m not saying
nobody did that before. But I think it’s a lot
more common and a lot more accepted now. Historically,
people only spent money on their pets when
the economy was booming. But with pets moving closer
to family status, pet owners are more likely to
pay for their pet’s needs during tough times. Industry experts call
this phenomenon pet humanization. And here’s
who’s driving. The pet industry’s growth of
late is in part coming from demographics. You have the aging
demographic, the empty nesters, and they’re having
more and more pets because they don’t
have children anymore. But also, you have the
millennials who are coming in and delaying the
raising of children and they’re having more pets. And you put
those two together. And in the U.S. today,
seven out of ten households have pets, and
that’s twice the number that have children. Humans
are going beyond basic food and vet services. We’ve begun to treat our
pets the same way we treat ourselves. To that
end, pet owners are purchasing indulgent items like
premium pet food, daily supplements, tech
gadgets, clothing and even matching streetwear. We conducted a completely
unscientific poll at CNBC to see how much
people spend on their pets. This is Bubba. He’s
an eight-year-old pit bull and he loves sleeping and
our family loves him so much. We spend about $1700
on him a year. The most expensive thing we
get for him is his monthly allergy medicine. That’s about $100
a month. He has to have a
special food for his allergies, which is about $60. We spend about $45 on her
litter and hay and just food in general
every two months. Our other pets are
a little more expensive. My two shepherds, it costs
about $110 a month to feed them. $60 every two
months to get them groomed. They’re both on
pills from the vet. So $45 each a month. I’d say for the year
in general it’s about $800 just for their
vet costs combined. This is Chewy. He’s
14-years-old and he’s the fourth dog I’ve owned. We
spend about $150 a month on him just between
treats and dog food. But we don’t
do pet insurance. We’ve never really seen
a need for it. This is Oliver. He’s
11-years-old and we have spent a good amount of
money on him buying him ridiculous things like
Halloween costumes. We did not get him
health insurance and we should have done that because
he’s had Lyme disease three or four times. But he’s our family member
and we, we love him. The average U.S. household
spent $662 on their pets in 2018. That’s a slight decrease from
2017, but it still represents massive growth
from 2013. Investors are itching for a
way to make money off of the booming trend. One
way to get a heartbeat of the industry has
been through exchange-traded funds, a collection of stocks
tied to one index or in this
case, one industry. ProShares has an ETF
called PAWZ that tracks public companies in
the pet industry. Our ETF follows the
FactSet Pet Care Index. And in Q2, as an
example, those companies grew their earnings
12 percent. And this is an environment
where we all know that earnings growth is very
hard to come by. So it’s translating into
the bottom lines of these companies. Just a little
bit less than two thirds of the ETF are
pet health care focused with the rest being pet
supplies and retail and, of course, pet food. And it’s not surprising that
a good chunk of this is in the pet health
care business because that’s where much of the growth
is in the opportunity in pet care. You know, pets
are getting older and they’re needing more and
more health care and people are treating their
pets like they’re members of the family. So there’s tremendous
investment there, tremendous opportunity. And the way I like to
think about it, there is no Medicaid for dogs. There’s a real opportunity
to make money there that isn’t as influenced
and impacted by public policy and
government decisions. Meet Dave Westenberg. He’s an analyst at Guggenheim
and he wrote a 138 page report for investors
on the pet industry. It looks at where the
future of pet care is headed by 2024. He writes that the
industry became attractive to investors after the recession
of 2009 when everyone was struggling
to find growth. He also writes that: “A
six percent growth rate with resistance to recession
is a good profile for companies, particularly in
the post great recessionary economy.” Stocks in the animal health
group have gone up 208 percent since 2014. The S&P 500 in comparison
gave investors a return of 48 percent during
the same time period. Veterinary services make up a
big chunk of pet spending. In 2018, U.S. households spent an average
of $662 on their pets. Just more than a
third of that came from vet bills. There’s three
major drivers of veterinary spending. One is price in which
is correlated with GDP, rise in pet growth overall, which
is a one to two percent as well. And
then there’s service intensity and service intensity
is essentially on the veterinary business
becoming better businesses and that has
equaled roughly the six percent growth
phenomenon. Medical care for pets is
getting more and more advanced. Pets now
get C.T. scans, transplants, dentistry
and chemotherapy. Owners want them to
live longer and healthier lives. And as the vet
bills pile up, more consumers are turning toward
pet insurance plans rather than paying for
procedures out of pocket. Right now, fewer than one
percent of pets in the U.S. are insured. However,
that number is expected to rise. In Sweden, for example, 30
percent of pets have insurance policies. In the
United Kingdom, about 23 percent do. The pet insurance industry
alone could be worth two billion dollars
by 2024. Employers are now starting
to offer pet insurance plans as a work perk. The biggest markets for
insurance you actually also find this
urban environment. Correlated with this urban
environment is the access to these things,
such as veterinary, acupuncture, oncology,
dermatology. They’re all really
expensive services. And so this
is all intertwined. The kind of customers that
want to go to these kind of places are also going
to be the ones that buy insurance. And more
visits to the veterinarian, coupled with
the growing pet insurance industry, also means
that there could be a surge
in veterinarian jobs. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics predicts that by 2026, more than 57,000
veterinarian jobs will be added to the economy. That’s an increase of
19 percent since 2016. As investors pile into pet
stocks, it’s easy to overlook what the underlying
forces behind the industry’s growth means for
our dogs and cats themselves. It’s part of
a decades-long trend of animal rights
and protection. It means that their lives
are getting better and longer. If you look back
at the history of animal welfare agreements, I guess it
was sort of in the 19th century that they
started making laws to protect animals. So things like the RSPCA
go back to that period and there was kind
of movements to protect animals, obviously in the
late 20th, early 21st century they’ve increased
a lot. And I think that’s for
two things, partly because maybe animals are given
a higher status. But I think it’s also
because of the society we live in now, it has to
be more regulated as well. So a lot of those
laws that discussed in that paper, not necessarily just
for the animals’ benefits, kind of regulating
them to make them fit in with human
society as well. Fewer pets are being put
down at animal shelters now. In the 1960s, one out
of every four dogs in the United States used to
live on the street. To address the national
issue, advocacy campaigns pushed dog owners to
become more responsible by sterilizing, microchipping and
licensing their pets with their
local municipalities. On the legislative stage,
Congress introduced a bill called the ‘Welfare of
Our Friends’ or the Wolf Act in
February twenty nineteen. It would revoke licenses
of dog breeders who violate standards
of care. In January, twenty
nineteen lawmakers introduced a bill which would make
animal cruelty a crime on the federal level. The’
Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act’, otherwise
known as PACT, goes beyond an Obama-era animal
cruelty law by making purposeful, crushing,
burning, drowning, suffocation and impaling of
an animal a direct offense. The bipartisan
bill was unanimously passed by Congress and was
signed into law by President Trump in
late November 2019. While increased ownership
and government regulation have led to
a better standard of living for pets, it may
be counter to what evolution had in
mind for them. Experts who study companion
animals point out that pet ownership standards
might be for human benefit, not the animals. Fortunately, this concept
of responsible pet ownership is, first of
all, poorly defined. If we talk about what what
does that mean to be a responsible pet owner, people will
say we need to provide good food. We
need to provide housing. We need to make sure
our animals are free from pain. I think most people
will agree on those three things. But then when
you start to get into the nuances of what
constitutes being a responsible pet owner, do you
need to take your dog or cat to
the vet every year? Is that enough? Some people
don’t think they need to do that. You give
them their shots and that’s it. You just let
them live their life. I think that what we’re
seeing is a wide variety of different attitudes
towards what constitutes responsible pet
ownership. Regardless of pet parenting
styles, the pet industry is getting
bigger and bigger. Just look at all the dogs
and cats with their own Instagram accounts. Wall Street
wants to go along for the ride to.


  1. Free markets will always allow anything that people find value in, to become "Big Business". It's when Government gets involved in markets that monopolies become a problem.

  2. I have a service dog and I think the reason why I spend too much money for his health not only that I need him but because when we get sick we know how to treat it but when the dog get sick we don't know what's going on what I'm saying is our dog can't speak to tell us wth is happening to them.

  3. Legalise dog and cat meat, and you will make much more money and ease pressure on other live stock!! Win Win!!! 👍👍👍

    Easing pressure on cows, will be helpful to climate change too!! 👍👍👍

  4. Few days ago,there was an article regarding economics of dogs on economist. But due to the paywall i couldn't read it.

  5. WHY you should adopt:

    1) Cost. Adoption typically costs half or even a third as much as buying a pet from a store or breeder. Before animals are put up for adoption they are often examined so you'll know of any health issues before you adopt. Pet mills will hide health information, often leaving people with sick animals they can't afford.

    2) Pet information. An adopted animal often comes with prior family history. Many times you can learn things like; is this dog good with kids? Or will this cat tolerate other pets? A pet store will not be able to answer these questions.

    3) Health. As mentioned pet store animals often have diseases picked up from their environment or hereditary diseases created by inbreeding or poor care of the mother – both of which are rampant in the pet mills that supply pet stores. Also, as a result of the conditions they are raised in pet store animals often have psychological issues or behavior problems as well.

    4) Every animal bought at a pet store leaves another 'vacancy' that a pet mill wants to fill for a profit. This leads to mother dogs / cats being bred to the point of physical collapse – at which point they are killed. Both male and female animals are often ill cared for in cramped conditions and young animals frequently die in these conditions. For every cute kitten or puppy you see in the window several others have died to put it there – solely for a profit.

    It will not benefit you, or the animal, to buy from a store. Just adopt.

  6. I’d pay anything for my pooches they’ve never let me down once. 2 rescue chihuahuas who sleep all day under the blankets, they’ve got the world by the horns that’s for sure. Good for them they were homeless on the streets of California and rescued from animal shelters. Now ones so chubby he looks like a sausage roll with legs!!!!! But he’s been thru a lot, now he will spend the rest of his days bossing us around for cookies 😳😳😳😳😳😳

  7. Im spending around 160-200 dollar a month just for food (40-50 a week) for my 5 rescue stray cats at home, just bought $ 250 cat cave last weeks, 5 pet beds for nothing coz they like cat cave better, 5 blankets and more stuff for them..and in return they give me so much joy

  8. I knew the second this video started it would turn into a get heakthcare and insurance for you pet advertising campaign. Im not saying dont look after pets medical needs btw. In this video there was at least to women say how much the dogs monthly meds cost ? Considering it states only 1 % of pet owners in US has health insurance for there pets and you just so happen to find two for this video ? , a coincidence i think not. Lets get this straight comparing the US healthcare and insurance to the UKs or Sweden, Denmark etc isnt a realistic comparison. Its far cheaper outside the US. US public get absolutely bent over by healthcare cist and insurance rip offs.
    It would be really interesting to find out of the % of pet owners who have pet insurance in the US how many have monthly or regular meds subscriptions for the pets compared to other countrys oet owners and pet insurance schemes.
    I'd be my house on it the % of pets on med subscriptions in the US is far higher and insurance companys, vets and pharm companys are cashing in big time. Whens the last time your pet said he felt ok and didnt need the meds anymore. Ye thats right he cant and the vets,insurance company and pharm know this.

  9. Wall St doesn’t care about products or services on a grassroots level. All they see are dollar signs. Deep down, they see a bunch of people willing to spend tons of money on their pets and trying to figure out how to get some of that money for themselves through any means necessary. It has nothing to do with pets. Most people who work on Wall St probably don’t even own any.

  10. I prefer dogs and cats over kids. They're always loyal and appreciate the things you do for them unlike children. I don't deal with kids well unlike pets.

  11. Yes great but lets stop polluting the earth with more unnecessary things please. Production of pet products and so on, dont need to explain more.
    Love animals though 🤗

  12. I love my dog… but if it comes to it I'm not getting him a transplant and feeding him immune suppressing drugs wrapped in coldcuts. that's a whole nother level of ridiculous.

  13. Bruh some animals get treated like crap. So What's the big deal with treating them good n giving them a better life?

  14. What about puuppy farms ? The breeding and disgusting greedy people breeding animals in little cages and killing them for the pet store demands..

  15. This Love is wierd u choose one dog out of many, on what basis i don't know, then, u pay a hefty amount of money to bring that dog home.

  16. This is really sad and pathetic when we worship animals so much to the point where it’s normal in our day and age to say “I LoVe mY dOg mOrE tHaN hUmAns”. It’s sickening and I for one will never ever fall into the pet worshipping ways other Americans blindly fall victim to. You can have a pet without worshiping the ground it walks on and just treating it like oh I don’t know? A PET. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  17. One thing they didn’t touch on is the reason for the huge rise of vet costs and expenditures is likely tied to the fact that it costs $250,000 in tuition alone to go to vet school, comparable to medical school. Before, the costs were much lower, and anyone could afford to go to vet school for a fraction of med school. Now they have to charge a lot for current and growing number of procedures which are now required to address the fact that our beloved family members only live for 8-16 years or so. We all want to improve their high cancer rates, for example.

  18. Kids aren’t for everyone. I hate people who say “they aren’t the same.” Not everyone makes a great parent. For some, having a pet is better than raising a child and spending your whole life with that child.

  19. For you guys who forgo your own health insurance but make sure you have your pets on a plan, please reconsider your priorities

  20. There needs to be a serious discussion, followed by action regarding puppy mills, breeders, hoarders, etc. As a child of a failed dog breeder/ dog show enthusiast, let me tell you- many, if not most of those people are the absolute worst.

    Supporting evidence:
    1) Many won't sell to anyone who isn't white, especially the bully breeds.

    2) To celebrate my G.E.D., probation ending*, and upcoming 18th birthday, my mother said she'd pay for the phlebotomy classes I wanted to take to begin the path of becoming an RN. The day classes start, my sister interrupts my mom's sudden tantrum and the barrage of attacks that she spent the money (a grand more than the class) ordering a puppy from some Ukrainian breeder's website. Even more frantic now, she gives me 10 minutes to pack up and leave, while threatening to put a kitten (from one of two litters) that took to me in a hefty unless I took him. Fast forward 2-3 years since I became homeless, I came to visit. Imagine my shock and disgust discovering that poor, sweet dog spent 2, maybe 3 hours tops out of his cold wire crate where he was exiled to a damp, cold, and dark basement. He was such an awesome dog but because he wasn't "show quality", she saw him as an annoyance that she was "too tired and stressed' for. Mind you, the dog count had since increased by one or two- and per usual, she was spending child support and any other money she could take from us kids (gifts be damned) on artificial inseminations and other expensive vet services. 5 extremely bored dogs and 15 cats weren't enough. She needed a litter puppies.

    3) A fellow breeder cleans her cages with bleach and other chemicals. My mom left one of her dogs there for breeding purposes. The irony is, the poor dog came back with his nuts chemically burned and he developed OCD because he was in so much pain that he'd constantly gnaw at them. She took him to the vet and got him a cone but she didn't do very much else before putting him down.

    4) Many of these people's homes are DISGUSTING and they act like it's a good thing because it shows they're "authentic". They think of their dogs as status symbols and a pass when it comes to the upkeep of their homes, vehicles, and bodies.

    5)I have always had a love for Siamese cats. I once found an ad on CL for a disabled kitten with a deformed paw in the shape of a crab claw. Arrived at the place- a rancid, dilapidated trailer that upon opening the aluminum door, flooded the lawn with the biggest stampede of cats I've ever seen. I know better than this but I fell in love with this kitten instantly and wanted to save her. The fat slob bragged about how she's had multiple kittens with this deformity and "they always sell like hotcakes, I love it."

    6) A husband responds to a dog on the couch by lifting him up in the air and throwing him onto the wooden floor with enough force to break his leg. He's also taken his pre k kid's sick cat and shot him for fun instead of going to the vet. Amongst many other incidents, the cruelest was when he shoved a dog into a wire crate (again, with so much force and indifference) the toes got caught in the wire and the nails got ripped out. Husband or not, it was her job to protect them, either by rehoming, alerting the authorities, or divorce. How does anyone condone that, much less continue to bring more innocent victims around him?

    7) They are usually the cause behind the groups of homeless cats, but sometimes dogs too. When the numbers get too high or they just want to dispose of an eyesore that has long since lost its novelty, they abandon them without a 2nd thought- except to worry about ASPCA tracing the animal back to them.

    8) They put these animals through so much discomfort and pain just to make the animal look and behave unnaturally: chalk for the fur, metal collars with inward-facing spikes to choke them if they pull. With bull breeds- feeding them supplements and large amounts of weight gaining food that's healthy for ppl, not them.

    If you like a specific breed for whatever reason, just keep an eye out for a rescue. It doesn't take long. Anyway, there needs to be more regulation/ oversight.

  21. when you get a pet the hardest thing you have to remember is you're gonna have to get ready for it break your heart 15 or 20 yrs from now. A good way to teach children the feeling of losing a loved one.

  22. I'm enjoying my pets. I currently have two cats, one 18 years and one 13 years old. Having read a lot of the comments below, I need to note I do love children and I recognize that children and pets are not the same thing, and are not remotely equivalent. But, since I couldn't have children – i am happy with pets. I enjoy other people's children. And, for those here who say children are valuable because they will support you in your old age – depends very much on the child! Don't depend on depending on that. In fact, I dare say if you "produce" a child just to have someone (thing?) to care for you in your dotage, the child most likely will not …

    As for adopt, don't shop – agree with cats. With dogs – all breeds differ in temperament and other regards.. If you do adopt a dog, I'd still largely prefer to get a breed – some breeds are less compatible than others. But there are breed rescue organizations, seriously worthwhile to investigate. Now that I am retired, and can be home to make sure the dog gets out, and can get the care it needs, I plan to get one. No, none of my pets have / will have health insurance, and I am willing to let them "go" when the medical prognosis states I should.

    Note – in many cases, having a pet is not an either/or thing. You can have children and have pets. You can have pets and have children – and both are totally different! You can have pets and also do what you can to help the homeless and starving people in this country and in others. Sheesh.

  23. Why aren’t we using more of this disponible income to help the impoverished in developing countries? We care so much about animal rights but then are OK with slave labor conditions for humans making the clothing for these pets. Americans would benefit from a more global perspective.

  24. I never owned a cat. However, my neighbor owns a cat named "Jynx" he's an Italian guy, who is retired. He says that he used to be a florist…but I think he was something different, just a feeling I have. Anyway, he had this son-in-law named "Greg" a male nurse and one time Jynx ran off cause Greg left the door open. Greg, was so worried about upsetting his Father-in-law that he actually got a cat that looked like Jynx from the animal shelter and spray painted the cat's tail to pass it off as Jynx. Well, that didn't work and Jynx came back home, and Greg looked like a goof. If that isn't bad enough, this all happened on the weekend where Greg's fiancee's sister was getting married.

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