Pet Ownership

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theanimal
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Pet Ownership

Post by theanimal » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:14 am

I'm hoping to figure out why there has been such a dramatic rise in pet ownership in the past 2 decades. Spending on a national level is roughly 68 billion p.a. for pet related expenditures, more than double the amount 10 years ago. In 1999, 9% of households owned at least one pet. Now the number is over 60%.

What happened? My hypothesis would be something related to broken communities and people having less children. However, both of those trends have been ongoing for many years so why would the change be so sudden recently?

I'm a curmudgeon in this department as I dislike most dogs and don't enjoy the fawning/anthromorphizing that most engage in with their pets. I'd rather put that energy to use in developing human relationships. But I seem to be an outlier.

Thoughts?

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vexed87
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by vexed87 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:35 am

I can't comment on the motivation for others' pet ownership, but my dog, a working dog breed is highly intelligent. He is surprisingly in tune with the social needs of humans. For instance, he will quite deliberately comfort DW if she lets her emotions run away with her. He gives me and DW lots of joy, there's literally never a dull moment with him around. As a dog owner, I have to commit to walking him in varied places at least twice a day, it gets me out and about when I otherwise might be tempted vegetate on the sofa in unfavorable weather. For some, this would be a chore, for me it has become a healthy ritual.

Not that I personally need one, but he gives me yet another reason to get up in the morning. I imagine this is a large part of the reason why socially disadvantaged individuals tend to opt for pet ownership.

There's an ancient and long standing connection between humans and their dogs. In many locations we have depended on each other for the means of survival, and it being around our dogs brings us back to nature in many ways. I imagine this is less of an issue in rural Alaska, but he in urban Britain, that's a major boon. What not to like about symbiotic relations? ;)

slsdly
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by slsdly » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:58 am

Well those statistics are enlightening! I had no idea the ownership (*cough* "parental" *cough*) rates went up so much. The most common reasons I've observed as a millennial in Toronto, in no particular order or claims of effectiveness:

1) Trial run for children, with the idea being, if you can't handle a dog, you shouldn't have a child.
2) Meeting woman. Having a dog signals you are a caring, empathetic man, who is definitely not a sociopath. (I've observed the opposite is also true -- if you don't want a dog, it signals you are a probable sociopath.)
3) Loneliness, and this was the path of least resistance for companionship.

I am solidly in the no pet camp. I grew up with cats, and I adore them. However between persistent allergies, the hair, and the responsibilities, I have no interest in a pet. Cat sitting occasionally is about as much pet as I want in my life. Dogs are even less of an option for me, personally -- I just don't like them for similar reasons to theanimal.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by ffj » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:39 am

if you don't want a dog, it signals you are a probable sociopath.

Yep. Haha

I see a lot of unhealthy relationships of people treating their dog like a child which just screws up what the dog wants from you, but dogs are great and I don't see myself without one again. But some people don't want the hassle which is understandable. I couldn't own one in an apartment or a city for example and the dog probably doesn't want that either as they need room to run, at least with the kind of dogs I prefer.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:58 am

Part of the reason why costs have gone one might simply be that the cost/pet has gone up (like education and healthcare) and not necessarily that the number of pets/human have gone up. The number of humans have of course also gone up.

One of the reasons (out of a several) we got a dog was actually as a trial run for a child. (It confirmed that I don't want children.) However, effectively, the duration (14+ years by now) has almost been like getting a child (who remained permanently at the 2 yo stage). Anyone wanting to go that way should start with an old dog or a big one with a shorter lifespan. In many ways (insofar the dog is treated as a household member and not a commodity) it requires a different lifestyle. For example, we can't fly with ours and we can't leave him with others (pen), lest he go batshit crazy while we're gone. Many rentals, especially on the west coast don't accept pets (means more $$$$ in rent). Last year he kinked his back pinching some spinal nerves and couldn't walk for two months, so I had to play nurse and hold his ass-end up with a sling whenever he needed to take a piss or a shit (score one point for FIRE, if I hadn't been there to serve as full-time nurse assistant, he would probably have to had been put down. He's recovered now and can walk again).

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by sky » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:32 am

I love dogs and cats, they are a lot of fun. However I will no longer own a pet or any domesticated animal. Owning an animal means first and foremost manure management, plus cost of veterinary care.

There are a lot of benefits to a pet, but I don't want to have to pick up an animal's shit every day.

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Seamus
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Seamus » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:22 pm

Curious where you saw that 9% figure. This suggests that pet ownership was 56% in 1988, which is more in line with what I would expect. I agree that cost disease at least partially explains the increased spending.

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theanimal
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by theanimal » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:44 pm

@seamus- You are right. I misread. Pet Ownership is up 9% since 1988, meaning 56% ownership.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Jason » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:46 pm


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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:31 pm

theanimal wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:14 am
I'm hoping to figure out why there has been such a dramatic rise in pet ownership in the past 2 decades. Spending on a national level is roughly 68 billion p.a. for pet related expenditures, more than double the amount 10 years ago. [Since 1999 ownership is up 9%].

What happened? My hypothesis would be something related to broken communities and people having less children. However, both of those trends have been ongoing for many years so why would the change be so sudden recently?
I think you're probably right. The number of adults living alone, never-married, and childless has been rising.

Toska2
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Toska2 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:36 pm

So the percentage hasnt changed but costs have?
I would venture that pet care has risen, pets are treated more like childern by empty nesters and food cost went au natureâl aka costlier. Not to mention Paris Hilton tea cup dogs (specialty dogs) will command a premium.

If I ever get a dog it will be an Aussie/Poodle @$800-$1200. I have dealt with enough dumb Black Labs and hyper Beagles.

Toska2
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Toska2 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:44 pm

If humans are marrying less, there are more households and thus less people per household. Thus we can conclude there has been an increase of pets per person yet have pets per househild remain steady.

Jason
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Jason » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:36 am

There is not only the anthropormophization issue, there is the commoditization issue i.e. a purchase, similar to a luxury car, exercise machine, new home etc. that is going to fulfill an unmet need or complete a picture that eventually ends up being regretted and/or having adverse effects. That's why buying a pet has a "Are you looking for something new or used?" dimension.

The anthros are willing to incur very expensive health costs to prolong the life of a creature with a very limited life span to begin with in order that it live a very limited time longer. The commodity owners lead to the disposable side. I can recall no greater visible documentation of the housing crisis than the change in activity in our vet's waiting room. Dealing with discarded pets was huge issue during that time.

Putting the two together, the higher costs associated with pet ownership is most likely impacted by the anthro pet owners willingness to pay for Fido's heart transplant surgery, gum disease or cholesterol medication. Similar to the human medical industry, certain (expensive) options/procedures to extend life were simply not available a decade ago.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by enigmaT120 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:51 pm

"The anthros are willing to incur very expensive health costs to prolong the life of a creature with a very limited life span to begin with in order that it live a very limited time longer."

We anthros do the same for ourselves, to no avail. Most health care costs happen in the last few months of a person's life.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:28 pm

I'm a big pet person. Currently have only 2 dogs but have had as many as 5 at one time. (In my defense, they've all been rescues and found or given to me by people who needed to rehome, etc). I'm a single, never married, no kids, and I'm willing to admit that in some ways pets fill a small "kid" space in my life. Enough so that I never felt much need to have kids. I would guess that pet ownership is increasing due to a variety of factors--more people not having kids and need to fill a bit of that kid space in their lives; also pet ownership is trendy (the more people have pets, the more it's seen as acceptable/desirable to have pets; also I'd surmise that more people work from home more and might be more likely to have pets when they can spend more time with them--ie, felt bad about leaving them 8 hour a day 5 days a week, but now work at home 3 days. I'd guess spending is up on pets due to vet care costs increasing, and entrepreneurs just cashing in on a new/expanding market.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by Jason » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:41 am

The last year of our parrot's life was very difficult and painful for all involved. He was 32 by that time and he fulfilled the no-kid void in a annoying step-son that I agreed to adopt but now won't move out of the fucking house kind of way. I spent as much time as I could with him because as he had arthritis, he enjoyed the heat that was generated when he was perched on my hand. Plus, birds are social creatures and they like company. But even though I was fully in anthro territory, I was always cognizant of the fact that he was not human and I was not going to take all potential measures prescribed by the vet that I may have if he was a person and I admit cost was a factor. But I'm ok with it because now he's in birdie heaven, shitting on someone else's hand.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:49 am

I think pets are increasingly filling the kid gap even for people who do have some kids. For instance, my 3rd sister and her husband are both highly extroverted, family-oriented types who likely would have had 5 or more kids in previous eras, so they have 3 kids and 2 dogs, and they acquired the 2 dogs after they decided to stop having kids with approximately the same spacing in which 2 more kids might have been born. Due to severe childhood allergies, I never became much of a pet person, so I am now a pumpkin lady in my post-empty nest years. The upside of this choice is you don't suffer the risk of being featured on local newscast if you go into absent-minded fugue state and forget to timely transplant the "babies" you picked up at plant nursery clearance sale.

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:30 pm

This thread is worthless without:

ImageIMG_20171210_062514_867 by Ed Miller, on Flickr

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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:32 pm


OTCW
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Re: Pet Ownership

Post by OTCW » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:11 pm

I've outlived one dog and three cats. The dog and one of the cats were rescues. Another cat was a 'gift', and the final cat just showed up one day. They all lived into their teens, and I enjoyed having them. I haven't given any thought to getting another though.

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