Americans are spending so much on their pets they are giving up their own essentials

Americans love to pamper their pets – and animals rule the world now more than ever. If they’re not getting subscription-only BarkBoxes full of treats and toys on a monthly basis, they’re getting dropped off at doggie daycare instead of staying home while you work – and relaxing at the end of a long day at a doggie spa or hotel.

New research from Magnify Money, a Lending Tree company, found that total expenses on our furry (or feathered) friends increased a whopping 50% in five years, between 2013 and 2018. (Those numbers have a lot of bite – think going from $57.8 billion in 2013 to $87 billion to 2018).

Additionally, Magnify Money analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Consumer Finances and discovered that the amount of money spend on Spot and Dot and Ruff is increasing at a higher rate than money spent on essential items like food and medicine (for humans).

Pets are in charge of their human’s pocketbook at home. Average spending on pets increasing 44% per household in the last five years, from $460 in 2013 to $662 in 2018.

What are Americans giving up to spend money on their furry companions? Well, Americans spent more on pets in 2018 than they did on fresh fruit and veggies, alcohol, beef, pork and poultry, water, and even medicinal drugs.

And if you’re rich, forget it – your animal companion has got you under some kind of spell. Wealthy Americans increased their spending on pets by 70%, to the tune of $1,523.

What’s the deal?

Some theorize that across generations, pets are our new children. Millennials are putting off having kids or opting out completely. Baby boomers are finding themselves empty-nesters without grandkids and instead finding contentment and delight with a dog.

Niche services and industries, ever attuned to what their customer wants, have began noticing what their customers want – and what they’ve noticed is how much they love their dogs. Do you want your dog at your wedding? There are plenty of professionals to help you do that, for a price.

MagnifyMoney’s research found that married couples without children are one of the main groups who spend a lot on their pets – in 2018, the average amount was $937.

But proving everybody loves our fuzzy darlings, even married couples with children weren’t very far behind them in spending, with $753.

It looks like pets are set up for pretty sweet lives for the near future.