I heard that people in Germany spend billions on pets and didn't believe it. But actually Germans spend around 3.3 billion Euro a year. The source seems serious.

The only hint I found for US is this site, speaking of a whopping 49 billion US dollars.

This looks exorbitantly high to me when comparing the US population to Germany's, and when considering that Germany is a very pet friendly country. Can someone show a serious source listing e.g. ratio of absolute number and type of animals in US (vs. Germany)? I would really like to know how one can explain this high difference between the two countries and in which fields it arises. Do animals used in US farming contribute to the 49 billion?

on comments: Im not trying to moralize. This anyway depends on your subjective valueing of 4$/day. I was more suprised by the absolute amount (the german overall government budget is around 300 billion a year!) and the relative difference to Germany compared with population ratio (311:80) Most of pet food is very cheap meat waste from production of human food. So (to me) already the 3.3 billion Euro (1% of german government budget) is pretty much. A lot of jobless people in Germany (roughly 1 of 10) would be glad to have additionally $120/month ($1440/year). I don't have to mention people in 3rd world. It would be interesting to know where this overhead of costs comes from: too expensive food (profiteering), contributing of animals in farming (I dont think they belong to pet industry) or very expensive vets. There seems also to exist very expensive dogsitting/dog disco (rofl) trends in New York. People having a dog, but paying other to care about (?) :)

  • 4
    That's approximately $4/day if you count 1 in 10 Americans has a pet (which may be way off, I don't know).
    – nico
    Oct 5, 2011 at 22:45
  • Maybe more horses in Amerika - see all those cowboys. And horses aren't that cheap. Oct 6, 2011 at 2:17
  • And $4 a day isn't much, tbh (on average), especially given the cost of vets (take your dog to the vet twice a year for some vaccinations and a general checkup and you're halfway there already). Need surgery? Vet bill can end up costing you several thousand.
    – jwenting
    Oct 6, 2011 at 7:16
  • 2
    @Chad: high price for low quality is a scam it is not capitalism...
    – nico
    Oct 6, 2011 at 16:17
  • 2
    While there is a lot of high price pet food on the market that isn't particularly high quality, there is also a lot of high quality pet food out there. I'd suggest that "Is all pet food made from low quality waste products?" would be a good separate question, except that I am not aware of any notable sources for that claim.
    – Beofett
    Oct 7, 2011 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


YES, apparently that number is in the correct ballpark.

Accoring to the American Pet Products Association the estimated number for 2011 is $50.84 billion.

Statistics 1

Breakdown of estimated 2011 Sales within the U.S. Market:

Statistics 2

Actual Sales within the U.S. Market in 2010:

Statistics 3

For more statistics click the link above.
(I don't know if farm animals are included in these numbers)

From Businessweek - The Pet Economy (2007):

"People are no longer satisfied to reward their pet in pet terms," argues Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. (APPMA). "They want to reward their pet in human terms."

That means hotels instead of kennels, braces to fix crooked teeth, and frilly canine ball gowns.

Pet owners are becoming increasingly demanding consumers who won't put up with substandard products, unstimulating environments, or shoddy service for their animals. But the escalating volume and cost of services, especially in the realm of animal medicine, raises ethical issues about how far all this loving should go.

Comparison with Germany:

In the United States (from the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey):

  • Cats: 86.4 millions
  • Dogs: 78.2 millions
  • Birds: 16.2 millions

In Germany (from Industrieverband Heimtierbedarf - Heimtiermarkt 2010)

  • Cats: 8.2 millions
  • Dogs: 5.3 millions
  • Birds: 3.5 millions

with a total sales volume of 3.7 billion Euros for 2010 (at the current exchange rate that would be $4.95 billion).

  • so roughly the same expidenture per pet owner (and pet) in both countries, given that the US has roughly 10 times the population of Germany if I recall correctly.
    – jwenting
    Oct 6, 2011 at 11:23
  • 4
    @jwenting 10 times? ;) its 311:80 ratio in population
    – Hauser
    Oct 6, 2011 at 11:29
  • Always thought it was between 30 and 50 million, hence the 1/10 ratio :)
    – jwenting
    Oct 6, 2011 at 11:58
  • It was about 60 millions when it was West-Germany, before the reunion, 1990. Oct 7, 2011 at 5:09

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