Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Pets and Seniors

For many seniors, pets are a part of the family.

For many seniors, pets are a part of the family.

A 1999 study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that owning a cat or dog helped seniors (study’s average age – 73) maintain or even slightly enhance their Activities of Daily Living (ADL) score.

Another study of coronary disease patients (Our Pets, Our Health,” Pet Information Bureau, 1987) by Drs. Aaron Katcher and Erika Friedmann shows that pet ownership is conducive to a higher survival rate. In a study of the mature market, seniors who had suffered heart attacks, the mortality rate among people with pets was one third that of patients without animal companionship. Further research indicates that having a pet decreases the heart attack mortality rate by about 3 percent.


A year after an acute heart attack, dog owners are significantly less likely to have died than non dog owners…Studies also show that pet owners:

• Visit their GPs less often and use less medicine
• Recover faster from surgery and illness
• Deal better with stressful situations
• Are less likely to feel lonely

Source: The Lake Veterinary Hospitals, November, 1997, Newsletter


Surveyed Attitudes of the Elderly Regarding the Benefits of Pets:

• Talk to their pet 95%
• Pet helps when they feel sad 82%
• Pet helps when they physically feel bad 71%
• Touching their pet makes them feel better 65%
• Confides in their pet 57%

Source: “How Community-Based Elderly People Perceive Pet Ownership,”
New J., Wilson C., Netting F., 1986


After tracking pet industry statistics for more than a decade, The American Pet Products Manufacturer’s Association (APPMA) announced figures demonstrating a continued rise in pet expenditures. Pet spending has more than doubled from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006.

In 2006, Americans’ spending on pets is projected to be higher than ever:

·         $15.2 billion for food

·         $9.3 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medications

·         $9.4 billion for veterinarian care

·         $1.8 billion for live animal purchases

·         $2.7 billion for other services

Total pet spending in 2005 (all ages) was $36.3 billion. And when examined by individual segment, the numbers are even more revealing. Both veterinary care and other services had stronger than anticipated performances in 2005.New and expanded veterinary services such as joint replacement surgeries, delicate eye procedures, and senior health care helped increase total spending by almost 8 percent over 2004.Other innovative new services continue to increase market penetration with pet spas and hotels, grooming, pet therapy and related services.

According to the APPMA 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey, current basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:

                                             Dogs                       Cats

Surgical Vet Visits                  574                          337

Food                                      241                          185

Kennel/Boarding                     202                           119

Routine Vet Visits                   211                           179

Groomer/Grooming Aids          107                            24

Vitamins                                 123                           32

Treats                                     68                              43

Toys                                       45                              29


As it is becoming widely recognized, pet owners’ spending is not limited to the basics. APPMA’s National Pet Owners Survey shows 27 percent of dog owners and 13 percent of cat owners buy their pets birthday presents, and 55 percent of dog owners and 37 percent of cat owners buy their pet holiday presents.

Why do people pamper their pets to the tune of billions of dollars a year? Pet owners report in APPMA’s National Pet Owners Survey it because they have a special bond with their pets and consider them a best friend, a companion or like a child or member of their family.

Source: The American Pet Products Manufacturer’s Association (APPMA)


Bottom line: Pets are important to the American public, particularly the mature market.  Is your marketing in tune with this? Does your lifestyle or health care option acknowledge this?



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: