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Current Economic Woes No Competition For Americans’ Dedication to Their Dogs

A survey conducted this month by the American Kennel Club® shows that despite a tough economy, pet owners are willing to sacrifice many daily luxuries to provide for the needs of their canine companions.

The survey of over 1,000 people on found that more than 96% of respondents with a taste for gourmet coffee would give up their latte habit to save money for their dog’s expenses. Ninety-seven percent also said they would forego massages or spa treatments in order to afford a vet bill, and nearly 79% would cancel a teeth whitening appointment so that Fido could have his annual teeth cleaning.

The only item that seems to compete with people’s love for their pooches is Internet access, with more than 70% of respondents indicating that they would not be able to abstain from their web addiction. One respondent would give up “pretty much anything. I need the gym and I need the Internet, everything else is fair game.”

“In general people are more dedicated to their dogs than ever before. No doubt dogs bring comfort and stress relief to many people during this difficult time,” said AKC spokesperson, Lisa Peterson. “This is reminiscent of what we saw during hurricane Katrina. With people facing great hardship, many remained so loyal to their pets that they were willing to risk their lives. Our survey demonstrates that they are also willing to forgo some of life’s luxuries for the welfare of their pets.”

The survey also found that with the holidays coming up, most dogs can still be assured that they will find a bone under the tree. More than 69% of respondents would cut back on gifts for their friends or extended family before they would skimp on holiday gifts for their dog. Nearly 9% would even scale back on gifts for their spouse before cutting back on presents for their dog.

Healthcare is another area that dedicated pet owners seem to be consistent about. PetPartners, Inc., provider of the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan, says that sales rates are holding up and owners are renewing their policies in consistently high numbers. This shows that pet owners view pet insurance as a way to manage their pet’s health care costs.Some dog owners have even opted to purchase health plans for their dogs over themselves. One survey respondent admitted, “My Cavaliers have health insurance, however, I do not.”

Holiday Gifts

  • 81% of respondents purchase gifts for their pups during the holidays
  • 69% spend up to $50; 24% spend $50-100; only 3% spend more than $150
  • 59% expect to spend the same amount on gifts for their dog as they did last year


Giving up Like for Like

  • 67% would cancel their travel plans if they could not afford to pay to board their dog.
  • 65% would regularly eat Ramen noodles before they would skimp on their dogs high quality food.
  • 59% would perm or color their own hair in the kitchen sink in order to keep Fido’s appointments at the groomers.


Cutbacks Owners Are Willing to Make For Their Dog

  • Eat more meals at home (97%)
  • Cancel gym membership (72%)
  • Cancel cable or satellite service (50%)
  • Curb spending on new clothes (94%)
  • Push back plans for home remodeling (89%)
  • Forgo buying new car or buy a less expensive model (88%)


Money Saving Techniques

  • 52% look for sales and/or clipping coupons before shopping for pet products
  • 48% are purchasing fewer toys/treats and other non-essential dog supplies
  • 34% have begun buying dog food in bulk


Explanatory Notes:
The survey was conducted on the American Kennel Club Web site during a one-week period in Nov-Dec 2008. A total of 1,088 surveyors responded voluntarily. Self-selecting methods were used in recruitment for this study. AKC does not guarantee that these statistics are scalable to the overall population. This data is for anecdotal purposes only.