American pet owners break last year's record for money spent on pets

From pet food to veterinary services, American pet owners continue to prove year over year that they are willing to pay up to keep their pets happy.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) released its annual report on pet spending on March 13, which showed that Americans spent a whopping $55.7 billion on pets in 2013. This figure represents a 4.5 increase from the $53.3 billion spent in 2012, according to Time.

So where did all this money go? 

Bob Vetere, APPA president, told the news that the spending boom has much to do with the large variety of products and services available to pet owners, ranging "from interactive and innovative toys to dog walking, doggy day-care and pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and airlines."

While the multitude of upscale services and product offerings heavily contributed to the record-breaking sum spent on pets, the most money came from one of the basic necessities: food.

Food was the highest area of spending at $21.6 billion - about $1 billion more than the previous year. The increase in spending on pet food was boosted by owners buying healthier and more expensive food, the AP reported.

Veterinary care accounted for $14.4 billion of the total. This was up from $13.67 billion spent in 2012.

Additional findings from the APPA report show that Americans spent:

  • $13.1 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medicines
  • $4.4 billion for other services including grooming, boarding, pet-sitting, and training
  • $2.2 billion for live animal purchases 

Looking ahead, spending on pets shows no signs of slowing down. According to the APPA, Americans will spend an estimated $60 billion in 2014.