Across America, people are cutting back on everything from new clothing to evenings out on the town. But Americans just can’t say no to a cuddly kitten.
Spending data recently released by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reveals that the pet care industry grew by about 5 percent in 2009, and industry experts are expecting equal growth in 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The APPA data reflects spending increases on pet food, supplies, veterinary care, live animal purchases as well as grooming and boarding services. In total, the industry made about $45.5 billion in 2009, and spending is expect to be close to $48 billion this year.
Pet industry experts are saying that our tendency to "humanize" pet products and services is largely responsible for the increased spending.
In 2009, veterinary care alone grew by 8.5 percent as pet owners splurged on innovative services like spa treatments and dental cleanings for their pampered animals, reports the news source.
The field seems to be ripe for growth as new ideas emerge. Last year, entrepreneurs started businesses that focused on removing pet droppings from yards for a weekly fee and developing ice cream that is palatable to dogs.
Carrie Underwood may be a country superstar, but she’s also an animal lover, proving it in her new public service announcement (PSA).
Before she became famous thanks to American Idol, Underwood worked at a local vet clinic, according to PeoplePets.com. The country crooner also goes home to Oklahoma to volunteer at a local animal shelter in her spare time and is the owner of a dog named Ace, who she showers with affection and pet care.
"I can’t imagine life without my dog," she told the news provider. "Dogs are just beautiful souls that don’t want a thing from you."
Underwood will be appearing in a PSA for Pedigree’s adoption drive campaign, which encourages prospective pet owners to look into adopting their animals from local shelters as opposed to pet stores, which often run the risk of carrying dogs that are bred in inhumane puppy farms.
Ace appears with his owner in the ad, which is set to air in mid February, and staff members told the news provider that he’s a "natural" in front of the camera.
Adopting from a shelter may help save an animal’s life, as the American Humane Society reports that 3.7 million animals in shelters were euthanized in 2008.
Oscar, the cat who shot to national stardom for his uncanny ability to predict the deaths of nursing home patients, is getting another wave of media attention thanks to a book published in his honor.
The cat has been a resident of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, for approximately five years, according to USA Today. A normally reserved cat, he only curls up to individuals a few hours before they’re going to die.
David Dosa, who works at the facility as a geriatrician, did not believe the hype at first, thinking the alleged "death cat" was simply a coincidence. However, after studying Oscar’s behavior and researching events, Dosa was inspired to write a book.
Oscar isn’t the only feline who calls the center home, six other cats live in the rehabilitation facility, although they don’t seem to hold the same phenomenal power. The other cats appear to just want pet care and attention from the residents.
Dosa believes that the animals are there to provide comfort to the residents, despite the fact that some individuals may feel uneasy when they see Oscar coming their way.
Firefighters are known for risking their lives for people who are trapped in dangerous situations. Recently, three firefighters recently ran into a burning house to rescue three Chihuahuas, four puppies and a turtle in Cape Coral, Florida.
All of the animals made it out safely thanks to the quick actions of the firemen, according to News-Press.com. The Cuevases family was out of the home when a pot left on the stove started a fire. A dog next door alerted its owner that something was wrong, and when owner Lydia Kozlowski looked out the window, she immediately checked to see if anyone was inside before calling the fire department.
Rescuers recovered all of the pets, and all of the canines appear to be in good dog health, which is a relief to of 9-year-old Gabriella Cuevas.
"When I first heard about the fire, I started to cry," she told the news provider. "But then they told me that the dogs were alright."
The family unfortunately lost their house and the community is setting up a fund to help them out.
Valentine’s Day may be the holiday of love, however, pet owners should take extra precautions with their gifts.
A number of popular Valentine’s Day presents can be detrimental to pet health, according to PeoplePets.com. Lily flowers can cause problems in cat health, potentially leading to fatal kidney failure.
Similarly, keep chocolate away from dogs, especially smaller ones, as dark chocolate and cocoa powder has the ability to kill a dog. The amount of chocolate for fatality may vary, however even a small amount can be harmful. ASPCA suggests that chocolate can also impair cat health.
Be sure to throw away any ribbon or string that may come with a gift, as a playful animal has the potential to accidently strangle themselves or choke on the twine.
Finally, even if you’re in a romantic mood, remember to blow out any candles before heading out of the home. Pets may accidently knock over the decoration, which could result in a house fire and even death.
Above all else, be sure to show affection for all of your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, including your furry friend. Providing pet care may be all it takes to keep your animal happy this Valentine’s Day.