Spending flat on veterinary care for pets

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The American Pet Products Association released a report in March revealing that spending on veterinary care by U.S. pet owners increased 2.9 percent to $13.41 billion in 2011, as the consumer price index increased 3.2 percent. The APPA predicts only a 1.3 percent increase in spending on veterinary care for 2012.

According to the APPA report, overall spending in the pet industry increased 5.3 percent to $50.96 billion in 2011. The association projects a 3.8 percent overall increase in 2012.

In 2011, spending increased 7.9 percent to $3.79 billion in the category of pet services such as grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet sitting, and day care. For pet supplies and over-the-counter medications, spending increased 7.6 percent to $11.77 billion.

Food spending increased 5.8 percent to $19.85 billion in 2011. Spending on purchases of live animals increased 0.4 percent to $2.14 billion.

The APPA projects an increase in spending on pet health insurance, which falls under the category of veterinary care. The association estimated that spending on pet health insurance was $450 million in 2011 and will increase to more than $500 million in 2012.