ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pets Often Come First Even In A Bad Economy

Updated on October 8, 2015
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock, and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.


Many Owners Make Sacrifices So Their Dogs Won't Have To

We might just have to re-think some of the negative old sayings that refer to dogs. Old saws such as “a dog’s life” or “treating someone like a dog,” for instance.

Nowadays, a dog’s life isn’t all that bad, and being treated like a dog can be as good as being treated like a member of the family…and better than some of the in-laws!

We’re in a tough economy, one in which people are cutting back and making do. And that includes pet owners.

Boomer’s collar may be ratty, but it’s still in one piece so it will have to do. And, he’ll have to make do with his old toys because the kids need school clothes right now.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), a few years ago did an online survey asking respondents what they’d be willing to cut back on or outright give up, for their dogs’ benefit.

They got over a thousand responses and, to me, there were few surprises.

You probably won’t be surprised by some of the results, either, because you’d probably be willing to make most of the same sacrifices for your dog.

Many of the sacrifices involve what could be termed “luxury” items that many would eliminate in a tough economy anyway.


First off, gourmet coffee takes a hit as 96% said they’d give it up to pay for some extras for their dogs. In a quid pro quo, 97% said they’d give up massages or spa treatments in order to pay the veterinarian, 79% said they’d cancel a teeth-whitening appointment to have the dog’s teeth cleaned, and 67% would cancel travel plans if they couldn’t afford boarding fees for the dog.

In a really brave quid quo pro, 65% would regularly eat ramen noodles before they’d skimp on their dog’s high-quality food, while 59% would perm or color their own hair rather than give up their dog’s appointment at the groomer. If I had hair, I’d make the same promise.

The survey also found that 69% would cut back on gifts for their friends or extended family, and 9%, who apparently like to live dangerously, said they’d cut back on gifts for their spouses before skimping on gifts for their dogs.

Restaurants took a big hit too, as 97% said they’d eat more meals at home. 72% would cancel their gym memberships, 94% would buy fewer new clothes, 89% would hold off on home remodeling, and 88% would delay buying a new car or hold off buying one altogether.

The most reluctant group is the cable and satellite subscribers. Only 50% would cancel their subscriptions. That’s where I’d draw the line, too. Sorry Fluffy, but if it comes down to you or The National Geographic Channel…I’m sure you understand.

The AKC partners with a pet health insurer and they reported that sales were holding up and owners were renewing their policies in consistently high numbers.

The belief is that the insurance is another way to manage a pet’s healthcare costs.

They survey also indicated that 52% would look for sales or clip coupons before shopping for pet products, 48% would cut back a bit on toys and treats, and 34% have already begun to buy dog food in bulk.

That last item concerns me a bit. You shouldn’t buy more dry food than your dog can eat in 90 days, which is about the shelf-life of a naturally preserved dry food once it’s been opened…even if you keep it in an airtight container.

The food won’t necessarily go bad after 90 days, but the nutrients will start to deplete.

About the only item that gave dogs a run for their money, as far as their owners’ priorities were concerned, was the Internet. 70% of those polled indicated that they just wouldn’t be able to disconnect.

While this survey concerned only dogs, I’ve seen other surveys that cover pets in general, and the results were about the same.

Pets, for the most part, enjoy “full family-member” status and a bad economy isn’t going to change that a heck of a lot.

How Are Your Pets Making Out In This Bad Economy?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      6 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Glad you liked it, wetnosedogs, thanks for stopping by. It is nice to know that, for the most part, people are willing to sacrifice a little so that their pets won't have to. The sacrifices aren't extreme, though, so most people will hardly notice. Nice chatting with you. Regards, Bob

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      This is an awesome article. Glad to read people care so much for their pets to give up a thing or two. They are family.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)