Americans could spend in excess of 60 billion on pets in 2014

It costs a pretty penny to keep pets happy and healthy. In fact, households in the United States spent nearly $56 billion on their dogs, cats and other animals at home. This is a figure that shows Americans are spending more than ever on their pets.

The American Pet Productions Association (APPA), an industry trade group that has been tracking how much owners spend on their pets since the 1990s, released the figures during the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida Thursday. It highlighted that the country spent a record $55.7 billion last year, up 4.5 percent from the previous year.

Although owners are spending most of their hard earned money on essentials, such as food, litter, veterinary care, grooming supplies and toys, they’re also lavishing their pets with “interactive and innovative toys to dog walking, doggy day-care and pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and airlines,” according to Bob Vetere, the president and CEO of the APPA.

DogHere is a list of what owners spent on their animals in 2013:

  • Food: $21.57 billion
  • Veterinary care: $14.37 billion
  • Supplies and over-the-counter medicine: $13.14 billion
  • Live animal purchases: $2.23 billion
  • Other services (training, pet-sitting, grooming): $4.41 billion

Health and wellness products and over-the-counter medications have grown more than 10 percent over the past two years. The “other services” also grew last year by 6.1 percent, the largest number in the association’s history.

Since the organization first started to track spending habits in 1996, total spending amounted to $31.1 billion (adjusted for inflation).

Baby boomers are the ones who purchase or adopt a pet and seek love and affection that they used to receive from their children, who are now all grown up and leading their own lives. More people are making their pets a part of their family, says Vetere.

“What is feeding a large part of the growth now are the baby boomers who have become empty-nesters and are looking for some other ways to find the love and affection they used to get from their kids,” Vetere told the Associated Press.

It was noted by Vetere that trends that humans follow tend to be applied to their animals too. For instance, one of the latest trends in the U.S. today is eating healthy and being on a strict diet. This means that dogs and cats are likely to be doing this as well, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the health food for pets sold at stores is quite expensive.

According to figures from the APPA, there are approximately 95.6 million cats, 83.3 million dogs, 20.6 million birds, 8.3 million horses, 145 million freshwater fish, 13.6 million saltwater fish, 11.6 million reptiles and 18.1 million small animals.