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US Pet Food Spending Falls by $2.3B

The Pet Business Professor blog outlines recent trends.




U.S. spending on pet food fell by $2.27 billion — 7.3% — in 2018, according to the Pet Business Professor blog.

The drop to $28.85 billion came as the supplies and veterinary segments had modest increases, and the services segment had the biggest growth in history.

Total spending in the U.S. pet industry was $78.6 billion. That represented an increase of $1.47 billion — 1.9% — from the year prior.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Pet Food – $28.85 billion (-7.3%)
  • Pets and Supplies – $19.8 billion (+6.6%)
  • Veterinary – $21.23 billion (+1.6%)
  • Pet Services – $8.72 billion (+28.9%)

The blog’s John Gibbons described three factors that contributed to the decline in pet food spending. In his words:

  • The July 2018 warning by the FDA about a possible link between grain-free dog food and DCM. Although there is no definitive link, many pet parents, especially new converts to grain free, apparently switched back to foods with a standard mixture made by a well-established manufacturer.
  • Value Shopping – This behavior is here to stay, and its impact is noticeably magnified by the internet.
  • Millennials moving out – A Pew research study showed that 34% of 25+ yr old Millennials still lived with their parents. In 2018, Millennials began to move out, gaining over 2 million CU’s. They took their pets with them but now they are responsible for expenses. However, it wasn’t an equal $ swap because they spent less ….on the internet.

Figures in the report come from, or are calculated from, data from the current and past U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys.


Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at



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