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Census: Spending on pet care services doubled in last decade

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Pet owners are spending more than ever before on their pets, and time-saving, specialty pet care services account for a significant portion of that spending, according to newly released data from the United States Census Bureau.

From 2007 to 2017, sales of pet care services doubled, to a total of $5.8 billion, according to the new data. Those services include grooming, training, and pet sitting. They do not include boarding horses, transporting pets, or buying pet food or other supplies.

And they do not include veterinary health care services.

The pet care services industry that provides those services includes more than 100,000 pet care service businesses, an increase of more than 60% since 2007. The number of paid employees at those businesses increased 111%.

That figure is considerably more robust than in the veterinary services sector, which saw a 25% increase in the number of employees over the same period.

The number of pet care service workers in total numbered 211,000 in 2017. Of those, about half worked for companies with fewer than 50 employees, and just under half (47%) were self-employed, including workers who contract with pet care apps such as Wag and Rover (which fall under the category of non-employer businesses).

Types of pet care services

Pet grooming services accounted for the bulk of pet care service businesses at 42%. Other types of services include:

  • Pet boarding (28%)
  • Pet sitting and walking (11%)
  • Animal training services (10%)

Average Sales

Average annual sales per establishment (not accounting for operating expenses) totaled $258,000 for pet grooming services, $328,000 for pet boarding services, and $236,000 for pet sitting and dog walking.

Other Findings

The new census data also showed a correlation between pet ownership rates and household income: more money generally means more pets. Almost 60% of households with incomes of more than $80,000 a year have pets compared with 36% of households with incomes less than $20,000.

And people in large homes have the highest rate of pet ownership: nearly 60% of homes with four or more bedrooms have a pet, compared to 37% of homes with just one bedroom.

But you don’t have to have a bedroom to enjoy the benefits of companion animals. Among households with zero bedrooms, 18% still managed to make room for a pet.

Photo credit: © iStock/adamkaz