How Much Do Pet Owners Spend on Their Pets? Lots.

How much do pet owners spend on pets

How much do pet owners spend on pets? Wads and wads of cash.

Filed under “news of the obvious,” American Express’s latest Spending and Saving Tracker report reveals that almost half of American pet owners intend to spoil their dogs this year.

Of the roughly $55 billion that U.S. pet owners spend on their pets each year, dog owners spend an average of $101 per month on their buddies. Men spend 30 percent more each month than women, who spend $86 on average. With two out of five American households having at least one dog (usually two), these spending figures are not surprising.

Sixty percent of Bay Area dog owners will spend money purely on pampering, whereas 49 percent of Los Angeles dog owners will spend more on gifts for special occasions, such as dog birthdays and holidays.


Although the report didn’t contain information about food and medical costs, it did reveal that more than half of American dog owners will spend a significant amount of money on pampering their pooches. Just a few of the amenities:

  • Special-occasion gifts — 44 percent
  • Dog toys — 48 percent
  • Dog-friendly hotel stays — 12 percent

Owners will also spend the big bucks on doggie day care, massage pet spas, gourmet treats, grooming, cute outfits, fancy collars and sumptuous bedding.

About 10 years ago, cats were the most popular pets in America. However, according to the 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, those figures have changed.

Dogs Cats
Percent of households owning 37.2% 32.4%
Number of households owning 43,021,000 37,460,000
Average number owned per household 1.7 2.2
Total number in United States 72,114,000 81,721,000
Veterinary visits per household per year 2.6 1.7
Veterinary expenditure per household per year $356 $190
Veterinary expenditure per animal $200 $81


More recent figures suggest an even bigger increase in pet ownership. According to a 2011 report from the American Pet Products Association, 72.9 million U.S. households now own a pet, a record number. That report also suggests that by some estimates, pet owners now spend an average of $11,000 per pet during its lifetime, including the recent recession.

(Bonus statistic: 25% of pet owners have done this for their dog or cat… Tasted their food!)

Note: This post was revised on Oct. 4, 2011, to reflect an updated figure — $55 billion — on how much Americans spend on their pets each year. Photo by geckoam/Flickr.

From Around the Web

  • Paul

    I figured out that last year we spent close to $1,000 on our two small Bichons. The only reason it was so small was because there weren’t any major medical issues. Food was the most expensive item, with grooming a close second.

    • Pets Adviser

      Yikes! One grand on two dogs… that’s a whole lot of food. Those guys must be getting the good stuff.