Millennials plan to spend big this holiday season - on their pets

A dog waits to be groomed near some items from the Holiday Tails Collection at a Petco Animal Supplies Inc. store in Seminole, Florida.

Millennials love their pets, and that love’s showing up on their holiday credit-card bills.

The much-discussed generation of shoppers, known for their industry-disrupting tastes, will spend heavily on their pets this holiday season — more than double what consumers overall are expected to pony up, according to a report from PwC.

Millennial households earning $70,000 or more will be the biggest spenders, forking over an average of $183 for pet gifts this holiday, versus the $67 that overall consumers will spend, according to PwC. High-earning millennials, feeling good about the economy, will spend an average of $2,021 on all gifts this holiday season — including for humans.

The holiday spending comes as pet owners increasingly treat their animals like members of their families, boosting spending for pet food and toys.

“It’s the same kind of joy you get when you bring home a gift to a small child,” said Lori Kogan, a psychologist and clinical sciences professor at Colorado State University.

Pet stores are trying to cash in on the trend. Petco is rolling out products targeted at gift-seeking consumers, with Christmas and Hanukkah-themed stockings, toys and treats . The company is also gearing its latest dog apparel brand, “Reddy,” toward millennial shoppers, according to Chief Merchandising Officer Alex Tomey.

“Millennial consumers are fanatics about their pets,” Tomey said.

Bronx, New York, native Christopher Rivera, 32, makes that clear. Rivera said he’s already bought a laser pointer for his 19-year-old cat, Ajani.

He notes that his cat is “equal priority” as friends and family when it comes to holiday gifts. “My cat is my sole responsibility; she’s a perpetual kid.”

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