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Here’s How Much People Are Spending on Their Pets for the Holidays

People increasingly treat their 4-legged friends as family members.

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ST. LEO, FL – Pet owners are spending an average of about $237 on their pets this year, according to a new survey.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey was fielded nationally online among 1,167 adults last month.

The figure is higher than when the Saint Leo University Polling Institute last posed the question. In 2015, Americans said they would spend $98.97.

“The spenders — they are called ‘pet parents’ — are individuals who treat their four-legged friends as if they are actually family members,” Dr. Keith Jones, associate professor of marketing at Saint Leo University. “As a result, people continue to spend on their pets at holidays in a similar manner as to how they spend on their actual family members. In fact in 2014, households reported that while they were going to cut back on spending for family members, they were not going to do so for their furry family members. Some even reported they were going to increase their spending. Industry officials are uncertain as to how long this trend will last.”

Three-fifths of Americans polled, 59.4 percent, said they have pets at home.

Whether pets are replacements for children for empty nesters or those who do not have children, or for those adding pets to families with children, “the most important message to note is that a growing number of households hold their animals in high esteem,” said Rhondda Waddell, a professor of social work at Saint Leo University who teaches an interdisciplinary course about therapy and service animals. “My personal thought is ‘love is love.’ If you want to give to your pets and that makes you happy, more power to you!”

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