Animals and Money: People putting pets first in the recession
The survey was totally unscientific--just based on a 1,088-person poll on the AKC site. But it was still a bit of cheerful news for animals in the downturn. The question that got all the attention was that 96% would give up fancy coffee for their dog and slightly more would forgo spa treatments. That means only 4% are complete self-absorbed jerks who would favor Starbucks over their dog Sparky. But I'll chalk that up to the crazy quotient that shows up in every survey--like those that say they've seen a UFO or are totally satisfied with President Bush.
Businesses have noticed that because pets are a bigger part of our families than they were a generation ago, we're less inclined to skimp on them during a recession. Earlier this year Wal-Mart announced it was pushing further into pet supplies because pets, like kids, are recession-proof.
The survey went on to show that people are willing to give up more than their lattes. Roughly two-thirds of us would put ourselves on a ramen noodle diet before skimping on our dog's nutrition. And two-thirds of us would cancel their travel plans if they couldn't afford to board their dogs. Though, that one is a bit odd. Are one-third of purebred people saying they would just leave their dog locked up at home? I don't think so.
In more mundane ways, for the sake of our dogs
- 97% of us would eat more meals at home
- 94% cut clothing spending
- 89% put off home remodeling
- 88% not spend as much on a new car
- 72% cancel gym membership (oh, yeah, big sacrifice)
- 50% cancel cable
- 30% give up the internet
That's not to say that people aren't cutting back on pet spending. The AKC found that one-third are already buying food in bulk and nearly one half of us have cut back on toys and treats. I think this time around pet people are careful to cut back on things that don't matter to a dog's health. The pet food recall really made that tough for a lot of people. Cheap food is a lot less appealing now. Before the recall, I fed my dog great food when I was doing well and grocery store food when I was not. Now, I'm not taking any chances.
Read other Animals and Money posts by Carol Vinzant