When it comes to maintaining the health and happiness of our pets, we'll do just about anything.
But there's one demographic in particular that spares no expense when it comes to their four-legged family members: the Baby Boomers. "Baby Boomers" refers to the crop of Americans born between 1946 and 1964.
When it comes to leading the pack, the Boomers are old hat. They've been first at a lot: first television generation, first generation of suburbanites (think tract housing and subdivisions), and inventors of the personal computer, to name a few.
They were also the first generation of pet owners in the sense that prior to the Baby Boomer era, "pets" were more like outdoor-dwelling, utilitarian creatures. Baby Boomers changed all of that. They transformed animals into pets, so to speak, and they made those pets part of the family.
And in 2015, this iconic group of Americans spent upwards of $60 billion on their pets.
As the Baby Boomers have aged and their human children have grown and left home, a generation-wide case of empty nest syndrome has set in. That has triggered a massive increase in pet ownership and an accompanying explosion of specialty goods and services tailored to America's pampered pets.
So what, exactly, are the Boomers spending all this money on for their pets? You name it. Everything from the traditional necessities (visits to the vet and the groomer), to doggy daycare, to pet spas, to pet psychologists, to highly specialized foods, treats, and homeopathic remedies for all imaginable dietary and medical requirements.
Vito San Filippo, COO and CMO of homeopathic pet care company Roxy's Remedies, is in the thick of the exploding specialty pet goods and services markets.
He says, "We anthropomorphize our pets, and think of them as family. We want to provide the same type of nurturing to our pets as we would our children."
Many companies, such as Bayer and Food Science Corporation, that have traditionally made products for humans, have made an effort to capitalize on the exploding pet goods and services markets by developing pet-specific products.
And with the popularity of pet ownership showing no signs of slowing and 2015's impressive $60 billion in consumer spending, more and more companies will likely follow suit.
It's a great time to be alive. And clearly, an even better time to be a pet.