Furry, finned and feathered friends help make a house a home. These companions are more than just pets; they're often cherished family members. So it should come as no surprise that, come the holidays, people want to lavish extra attention on their animals by way of presents.
The American Pet Products Association says pet owners spend billions of dollars on their pets each year. The majority of pet owners plan to gift their pets on holidays such as Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas. DogTime.com says that pet presents are not a North American phenomenon, either. Pet owners in the United Kingdom are expected to spend the equivalent of $46 U.S. per pet on gifts.
While dog owners are more likely to buy their pets gifts, cat owners have been closing that gap over the years. Some pet parents even offer Christmas cards or hang Christmas stockings for their pets.
According to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers, shoppers between the ages of 17 and 21 are willing to spend more than anyone else ($70) on holiday gifts for their pets.
Gifting pets has become the norm, but various animal welfare organizations advise that giving companion animals as pets should be avoided. Pets given as gifts may be at a higher risk for surrender to shelters by families who miscalculated the amount of time and money that's necessary to care for pets. Welcoming a pet into the family is often a personal decision, and one that should be weighed carefully by all members of the household.