A new AP-Petside.com poll reveals that money troubles aside, the majority of pet-owning Americans have a holiday treat in store for their best bud.
“It brings me joy to see [my pets] enjoying their gifts,” explains Petside Facebook fan, Heather Webster Geel.
The total percentage of pet gifters (53 percent) is just slightly higher than last year (52 percent), but among those in families touched by job loss in the past six months, 56 percent still plan to buy their pet a holiday gift.
“Despite the recession, the pet industry has grown five percent in the past couple of years and is forecast to grow another five,” says Tierra Bondali, pet lifestyle expert and spokesperson for the American Pet Products Association. “If you’re depressed or having a hard year, what can make you feel happier than that wagging tail?”
It’s true that no matter what kind of year a pet owner has had, chances are, they think having a pet made it better.
“My dogs and cats deserve a little something for helping keep me happy, healthy and sane,” says Petside Facebook fan Lee Taylor-Belcher. “Life is good with a pet.”
It follows that renters (66 percent) are more apt to pamper their puppy (or other pet) than are homeowners (49 percent).
“We know household incomes are generally lower for renters than for homeowners, so it may be that renters are depending a little more on that love and affection from their pet,” says Bondali. “Plus you can give a very inexpensive gift to your pet and you know they are going to just love it.”
As for who’s picking out the pet presents, more pet mommies (56 percent) are buying gifts than pet daddies (49 percent) but the differences between the sexes is a lot less than last year’s 22-percent gap.
Sadly for cats, there is a slight gap in recipients, too. A majority of dog owners
say they’ll by their pup a present (56 percent) compared with 48 percent of cat owners.
Finally, although much holiday gift-giving stems from religious tradition, less-religiously active pet owners are more likely to gift their pets.
Less than half of those who attend religious services weekly or more often say they plan to buy their pets a gift, compared with 60 percent of those who never attend services.
Perhaps unbridled pet joy can be considered a spiritual experience?