Americans spent more than 40 billion dollars on their pets last year. That's more than the GDP of all but 64 nations combined. The 40 billion dollars is more than what's spent on music, video games, and movies combined. Interesting since this consumption nation is obsessed with instant gratification and the thought that the resources spent on pets surpassed these three heavily targeted mediums really surprised me.
The amount spent per year has doubled in a little over a decade. Why? Empty nesters, singles without children, etc. More than anything I think people embrace pets in a different way than they did even a decade ago. Pets are seen as extensions of a family. They give unconditional love. We open up our wallets. It's an equal exchange.
Now some of the excessive behavior, in my opinion, is seeing people pay for their pets to have plastic surgery. Or spending more money on a pet than you give to charity. I understand these are personal choices, but is it more important for your dog to have esteem (faux testicles after they are neutered, neuticles at $900 a pop) or to give money to one of many charities. Again this is a personal choice. I don't own any pets. I can understand why someone might lavish their pets, which is not a problem in my eyes, as long as you're socially responsible as well.