Pet ownership down slightly, but spending up

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The American Pet Products Association reports that U.S. pet ownership decreased slightly between 2012 and 2014, but spending in the U.S. pet industry increased between 2013 and 2014—including spending on veterinary care.

The APPA biennial survey of pet owners found that 79.7 million U.S. households owned pets in 2014, down 3.5 percent from 2012 but up about 50 percent over two decades. Baby boomers comprised 37 percent of pet owners. More than 10 percent of pet owners were new owners, mostly from generations X and Y.

More pet owners than two years previously, 74 percent, said they are not influenced by the economy when it comes to their pets. Fewer owners reported spending less money on their pet, that they did not get a pet, or that they had to give up their pet because of economic factors. Across all pet types, many owners reported increased or consistent spending on their pets.

The annual APPA report on pet spending found that overall spending in the U.S. pet industry increased 4.2 percent between 2013 and 2014 to $58.04 billion. The APPA predicts a 4.4 percent overall increase for 2015.

Spending on veterinary care increased 4.7 percent to $15.04 billion in 2014. The APPA predicts a 4.6 percent increase in spending on veterinary care for 2015.

In the biggest category, pet food, spending increased 3.2 percent to $22.26 billion in 2014. In the category of pet supplies and over-the-counter medications, spending increased 4.6 percent to $13.75 billion.

Spending on pet services such as grooming, boarding, walking, training, and day care increased more than in any other category, up 9.8 percent to $4.84 billion in 2014. Spending on purchases of pets decreased 3.6 percent to $2.15 billion.

Related JAVMA content:

Spending up on pets, including for veterinary care (May 15, 2014)

Reports: Pet ownership up recently, veterinary spending flat (April 15, 2013)

Spending flat on veterinary care for pets (April 15, 2012)