Reports: Pet ownership up recently, veterinary spending flat

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The American Pet Products Association reports that the percentage of U.S. households that own pets increased from 2010 to 2012, but spending remains relatively flat on veterinary care for pets.

Surveys by the APPA found that 68 percent of households owned pets in 2012, up from 62 percent in 2008 and 2010 and 63 percent in 2006. Surveys by the AVMA, using a different methodology, found that the percentage of households that own pets decreased slightly between year-end 2006 and year-end 2011.

Both the APPA and the AVMA found that spending on veterinary care for pets outpaced inflation between 2006 and 2011. According to an APPA report, spending barely budged from 2011 to 2012, increasing from $13.41 billion to $13.67 billion. The APPA projects that spending will be $14.21 billion in 2013.

The APPA’s biennial National Pet Owners Survey found that 46.7 percent of households owned dogs in 2012, 37.3 percent owned cats, and 11.8 percent owned freshwater fish, among other pets.

Food is one of the top annual expenses for pet owners, who spent a mean of $239 on food for dogs in 2012 and $203 on food for cats. Veterinary care is another top expense.

The APPA’s annual report on the pet industry found that overall spending increased from $50.96 billion in 2011 to $53.33 billion in 2012. The APPA projects that spending will be $55.53 billion in 2013.

Spending increased the most from 2011 to 2012 in the category of services other than veterinary care such as grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet sitting, and day care. Spending also increased substantially in the category of supplies and over-the-counter medications.

Within the category of veterinary care, the APPA estimates that spending on pet insurance will increase to more than $750 million by 2015.