“Pet Prowess” in America; Michael Vick To Coach at University of Beijing

By John E. Carey

July 20, 2007

Is America a great nation, or what?

There are many measures that could lead a person to answer this question with a resounding yes: the numbers of people with private home ownership, the civil right we enjoy, our economic might, our intellectual and high-tech innovation, and others.

I’m using “pet prowess.”

No other nation in the world has the “pet prowess” of the United States of America. What is “pet prowess”? It’s my own term to view the number of pampered pets in America, the amount of money Americans spend on their pets, and other pet related statistics.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) confirms the full scope of American “pet prowess.” For starters, few other nations even have a pet products association.

According to the APPMA, pet spending has more than doubled in America from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006.

In 2006, American spending on pets is projected to be higher than ever:

–$15.2 billion for food

–$9.3 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medications

–$9.4 billion for veterinarian care

–$1.8 billion for live animal purchases

–$2.7 billion for other services

Here are some additional facts from the APPMA:

–Total pet spending in America during 2005 was larger than projected with total sales coming in at $36.3 billion.

–Both veterinary care and other services had stronger than anticipated performances in 2005.-

–New and expanded veterinary services such as joint replacement surgeries, delicate eye procedures, and senior health care helped increase total spending by almost 8 percent over 2004.Other innovative new services continue to increase market penetration with pet spas and hotels, grooming, pet therapy and related services.

Hey, in China, dogs are people food.

“Both of these segments should maintain strong performances this year as pet ownership continues to increase especially among key demographic sectors including baby boomers and young professional couples,” said Bob Vetere, President of APPMA.

–Growth in the pet food sector performed as forecasted at 3.5 percent over 2004. “It is interesting to note that food continues to show growth not only in the expected high-end areas with vitamin fortified formulas, gourmet lines and natural/organic food but with the value-priced portion of the segment as well,” said Bob Vetere.

Now for Michael Vick. He’s almost certain to lose his Nike contract. He’ll likely never endorse another product in America. And his NFL days may be numbered.

But China has heard about Michael’s hobby and his friends and has offered him a full scholarship at the University of Beijing. But it isn’t for football. The rumor is, he’ll be coaching some other sport.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

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