The Price of Ownership

Sue BerginSue Bergin

One of the first things that an advisor does when working with a new client is to find out what is important to that client. It helps pinpoint values and gives a good idea of where the client’s money will naturally flow.

In trying to find out what is important to clients, advisors typically ask about children, parents, siblings and charities.

Recent trends would suggest that dogs and cats should be added to the list.

The following stats will help demonstrate the economic paw print and why you might want to dig a little deeper and include four-legged friends to your intake questionnaires.

  • 62% of households, nearly 73 million American homes, have at least one pet.  This is up from 56% in 2008.(1)
  • Americans spend over $50 billion on their pets a year.
  • Americans will spend approximately $310 million on Halloween costumes for their pets.(2)
  • Veterinary expenses account for 65% of our pet care spending.
  • Pet services like grooming, pet hotels and doggie day cares are experience rapid growth, rising 8% from $3.51 billion in 2010 to $3.79 billion in 2011.  The APPA predicts that pet services will grow another 8.4% in 2012 to an estimated $4.11 billion in 2013.
  • Last year, Americans spent nearly $7 billion dollars on pills for their pets.  This is up 35 percent in just four years.(3)
  • 42% of dogs sleep in the same bed as their owners (up from 34% in 1988).(4)
  • A third of dog owners buy birthday gifts for their pets.
  • Less than a decade ago, there were just a handful of pet aftercare facilities.  Now there are approximately 700 funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries.(5)

While pets might not warrant line items on a client’s budget, it is helpful to know if the client is a pet lover.  Dropping Fido’s name every so often is a great way to demonstrate that you care.


1. American Pet Products Association, Industry Statistics and Trends.
2. Consumers Eager To Have A Frightfully Good Time This Halloween, According To National Retail Foundation.
3. Prozak for Puppy?  More American Pets are Prescribed Psychotic Drugs, ABC News, February 10, 2012.
4. The Pet Economy: More than Movies, Music & Video Games Combined, October 20, 2010, Global Animal.
5. There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Dead Pet, September 7, 2012, Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

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