LOS ANGELES (AP) — Millions of pets across America live like little humans these days — and as long as people treat them that way, pet spending should keep climbing after a record 2013, industry spokesman Bob Vetere said Thursday.
Americans spent an all-time high of $55.7billion on their pets last year and spending will creep close to $60 billion this year, the president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association told buyers and exhibitors at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla.
The biggest part of spending in 2013 — $21.57 billion — went for food — a lot of it more expensive, healthier grub.
The humanization of our pets started about 20 years ago, Vetere said in a telephone interview. As people made pets more important parts of their families, manufacturers introduced products that, in the beginning, helped the animals make their move from the backyard to the front room.
“What is feeding a large part of the growth now are the baby boomers who have become empty-nesters and are looking for some other ways to find the love and affection they used to get from their kids,” Vetere said.
The health of people also plays a role in the robust outlook for the industry’s future, Vetere said.
“The body of science validating that pets are good for us is growing with strong research in numerous areas of health,” he said.