Home Animal Tails Pet Gift Giving: It’s Completely Normal
Pet Gift Giving: It’s Completely Normal Print E-mail

Over half of American pet owners are buying gifts for their pets this Christmas, spending an average of $48 on their animals. Holiday shopping sprees for pets account for around 10 percent of the total amount spent on them throughout the year, which includes food, grooming, health care, accessories, boarding and veterinary care. PetFinder.com reports 63% of dog owners and 58% of people with cats put presents under the Christmas tree or in stockings for their animal family members.

Toys and treats top the list, based on research and polls conducted during the last several holiday shopping seasons by the Associated Press(AP)/Petside.com. Each year, owners can choose among more and more pet products and pet gifts. Current trends, notes the American Pet Product Association, feature specialty items from retailers such as Omaha Steaks selling steak pet treats and Paul Mitchell providing a full range of pet shampoos and hygiene products.

Animal Tails - Pet Gifts

"It’s quite natural to want to give gifts to pets: It’s part of the innate human need to nurture."

But every holiday season, like clockwork, curmudgeons try to make the case that this type of pet-consumerism is silly and over-the-top. Are people nuts, they ask? Forking out $5 billion for pet Christmas presents this year? So is there anything clinically disturbing or crazy about buying Christmas gifts for pets? That’s the question USA Today put to mental health professionals in a survey two years ago. The answer is no.

“The blatant puppy love much of America is displaying does not spell the end of society as we know it,” concluded one shrink, “and the pet-obsessed are not pathetically off-kilter humans in need of intense therapy.”

Another psychologist said it’s quite natural to want to give gifts to pets: “It’s part of the innate human need to nurture.”

Stanley Coren, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia and a Psychology Today columnist on human-pet interactions, asked, “What’s the harm? Someone may go spend $20 on a rhinestone collar – that’s pretty much the worst that will happen.”

Though our pets don’t understand what the gift giving all means, they sure are happy to jump in and play with the kids and their new toys. That makes us all smile.

May your holidays be merry!



Written by: Dennis McLaughlin, McLaughlin Writers Group, LLC
Sources: : American Pet Products Association; PetFinder.com; Associated Press(AP)/Petside.com; USA Today, December 20, 2011

Published: 2013-12-19


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