You might have been recently noticing that there seem to be increasingly more and more dogs, cats, and other pet owners, and you’d be right because according to new statistics that are about to be released in a book written by Jonathan V. Last, pets now outnumber children 4 to 1 in America.
Fur Friend Explosion
I think most of us would agree that there certainly seems to be an explosion of pet ownership and all the subsequent businesses that go hand in hand with the age of fur friends.
Do we get pets for our children or for something we’re missing in our own lives?
Is this because our aging population has now seen their children become adults and now the many empty nesters are feeling lonely, like they’re something missing in their lives, and because of this they are turning to pets as human replacements….the need for a replacement that can in some ways satisfy their need to nurture and care for someone?
Perhaps the huge increase in pet ownership can be attributed to young adults being too busy or unable to consider today’s high cost involved in raising a human family, so, therefore, lower-cost pets are filling the family’s “need”.
Booming Pet Industries
Certainly, this is true anywhere pets ownership is prevalent, as we’ve all noticed the increase in the number of veterinary clinics, pet stores and boutiques, grooming salons, training services, pet walking services, pet magazines, pet TV shows, pet paraphernalia, and doggy daycare businesses springing up across the city to meet the demands of a busy working population that doesn’t have the time to devote to their dogs during the day, yet wants to have it all when they get home.
According to statistics in Jonathan Lasts new book, What to Expect When No Ones Expecting, “In 1994 Americans spent $17 billion on pets; …even in the face of a massive recession, it had climbed over $4.8 billion.”
Cost Increases of 100% or More
According to statistics, over a span of just eight short years, the cost of medical care for the average American dog-owning household (with Canadians following closely behind) has increased more than 100%, from $383. in 1998 to $672. in 2006, and dog grooming costs have increased more than 100% during this same time, too, increasing from $59. to $127.
Of course, we dog lovers have known for a very long time that there is much evidence to support the reality that over the years our beloved pets have indeed been elevated to the level of full-blown family members and that our furry family members deserve the latest fashions, food, and services we would give ourselves.
Certainly, the marketplace has taken full advantage of our pet-crazy society, leading us humans down an ever-manic path, which has created a humanizing hailstorm of our doggy friends, which in turn has caused a great deal of unsettling behavioral issues to arise in our dog population who continues to do their best to fulfill the desires of humans who disregard the real needs of the dog.
Travel Policies for Fido
For instance, did you know that there are now companies offering policies for pets traveling in cars? And did you know that the more affluent dog owners have been able to successfully lobby for changes in estate law that permits pets to be the legal recipients of inheritances and trust funds?
You may not have heard that a bill was recently put forth in Congress asking for a $3,500. tax break for pet care expenses, which is apparently more than a family would receive for a human child. This bill was called the HAPPY Act (Humanity and Pets Partnered through the Years). Although this bill failed to reach a vote, if the population continues to choose pets over procreation, perhaps the time is not too far off when it will.
The Growth of Pet Owners
How has all of this coincided with the growth of pet owners? To say it has been anything less than explosive, would be an understatement as surveys indicate, during the last 38 years (from 1947 to 1985), while fewer than half of Americans reported that they owned a pet, today American pets outnumber American children by more than four to one, and statistics indicate nearly 3/4 of all households have pets.
According to the 2012 National Pet Owners Survey, the statistics of which were compiled by the American Pet Products Association, there are approximately 78.2 million dogs in the U.S. with 60% of the dog-owning population owning one dog, 28% owning two, and 12% owning three or more.
And don’t forget the cats, of which there are approximately 86.4 million in the U.S. with 33% of the cat-owning households owning at least one cat, 52% owning more than one cat.
According to Last, “Educated, middle-class people have all but stopped having babies,” as “Pets have become fuzzy, low-maintenance replacements for children.”
– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
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