According to the 2011-2012 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey 38.9 million U.S. households own a cat and 46.3 million U.S. households own a dog. The numbers are even more staggering when broken down by the total number of pets owned: 86 million cats and 78 million dogs. Pet ownership is costly; in 2011 $50.96 billion was spent on pet related expenditures. Only 4.2% of the $50.96 billion was related to live animal purchases. The American Pet Products Association predicts that in 2012 $52.87 billion will be spent in on pet related expenditures.
In considering these expenditures it is pertinent to review the market demand geographically. Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) company, created the Canine Country map. A map of the U.S. which displays the demand for dog treats. The site also provides an interactive map for one to search within their state, territory, or zip code to see where the demand is highest. Do You Live in Cat Country? and Do You Live in Canine Country? color-code the demand for dog and cat treats. Areas shaded dark brown are where dog and cat treats are in highest demand.
APPA has data beginning in 1994 where U.S. households spent $17 billion per year on pet related purchases. The expenditures have steadily risen to the $50.96 billion spent in 2011. How is that Americans are able to spend so much money on pets? Why do Americans do this? Do these households understand the opportunity costs?