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US dog food, treat spending higher than cats’ in 2018

BY TIM WALL ON MAY 16, 2019

Survey participants told APPA market researchers that they spent an average US$259 on dog food in 2018, whereas cat owners spent US$228.

The average amount U.S. pet owners spent on their animals’ food and treats in 2018 ranged from US$37 for freshwater fish food to US$1,577 for horse feed. Along with those extremes, the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) annual survey revealed that dog and cat owners’ food expenses are much more similar than costs for Anglefish versus Arabians.

Although similar, dog owners tended to spend more than cat owners. Survey participants told APPA market researchers that they spent an average US$259 on dog food in 2018, whereas cat owners spent US$228. The sales trend repeated in pet treats. Cat owners spent US$58 in 2018 compared to dog owners’ US$76. While bird owners spent less on food with US$136, they did spend more than cat owners on treats. Bird owners spent an average US$73 on treats for parakeets and other avians.

Importance of name brand to pet owner purchases

Among all APPA survey respondents, saltwater fish owners reported putting the greatest value on name brand with 46% saying it was very important. Horse owners assigned the second highest at 35%. For both dog and cat owners, brand was very important to 26%. Birds were a little higher with 29%. Freshwater fish (19%), reptile (17%) and small animal owners (16%) reported lower importance for brand name.

APPA National Pet Owner Survey methodology

APPA’s survey included 10,090 current pet owners of whom 3,425 completed the questionnaire. Participants answered one of eight sets of questions related to their specific pets, such as dogs, reptiles or saltwater fish. The survey also asked for demographic data. Respondents were balanced using U.S. Census targets for gender, age, race/ethnicity, income and household size.

APPA started collecting data on pet ownership, pet food purchases and other information in 1988.

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