Pet expenses at all time high

Posted at 2:45 PM, Mar 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-05 15:26:53-05

The U.S. economy is still recovering, but your pet wouldn't know it. In fact, Americans are spending billions of dollars on their pets, and spending is at a historic high.

The sales record doesn’t indicate that the purchase (and maintenance) of pets has increased, but rather the cost of caring for and pampering pets keeps going up.

That applies to all pets also-- dogs, cats, reptiles, tanks of fish—the prices are rising.

Americans spent a record amount of money on their pets in 2011, and they're expected to spend even more this year. A trade association finds that Americans dropped more than $50 billion dollars on pets in 2011.

That's an all-time high, as spending rose 5% from the previous year.  In 2012 – sales are likely to top $52 billion dollars.

The biggest cost is food, which accounts for almost half of all spending on household animals.

Vet bills are the second most costly. And over-the-counter medicine and other supplies are the third biggest expense.

The $50 billion figure also includes buying the pet animals.

The group says a lot of new products and services are fueling the growth, as entrepreneurs and investors start new businesses.

Also contributing to the billion dollar industry--pets are usually one of the last things people will give up when forced to make cutbacks in a tough financial situation.