A good excuse to pamper your pets

Pip waiting for his celebratory “National Love your pet” treats. PROVIDED

Two of every three American homes include a pet, according to spots.com, meaning we total more than 393 million as a nation.

In Ohio, the figure is 62.4% of all households.

So it’s no surprise that National Love Your Pet Day, the unofficial holiday we celebrate Feb. 20, continues to rise in popularity.

While dogs and cats account for most American pets, they do have company. A pet marketing agency found the five most popular pets are dogs (40%), cats (25%), fish (8%), birds (4%), then hamsters, gerbils and mice (2%).

They all deserve to be loved, so good thing there’s a day for it.

Growing up, my sister, Beth, and I had parakeets, fish, hermit crabs and a long-lobbied-for dog, Maxie. That Miniature Schnauzer who was perfect, I thought, even when she ate the bottom row of Christmas tree ornaments and we had to make sure what she ate came back out. The pooch had sparkly poop for days. As a kid, it was hilarious.

Yearly, Gallup pollsters find companionship and love of animals drive our need for pets. What I found interesting in the data was that a much larger percentage of cat owners (14%) than dog owners (3%) say they “rescued” a pet needing a new home.

Ed and I adopted our first cat, Bailey, just that way. The tabby showed up at our garage one summer day and within a little over one week we had a new family member. Our two other cats, tuxedos Abby and Pip, were rescued, too.

When asked how they show affection to pets, Americans’ top five responses in one survey were: playing with them (15%), treats and gifts (13%), cuddling (12%), telling them “I love you” (10%) and spending quality time (10%).

Not surprisingly, when asked what they find attractive in people they date, men and women listed: someone who treats their pet like a family member (22%); someone who expresses outward affection to animals (19%); and someone who is a pet parent (12%).

Ed also grew up with a Miniature Schnauzer, Fritz. I never met him but his antics are legendary, including the time he nearly broke up a cocktail party Ed’s parents hosted. After helping himself to a large platter of freshly made deviled eggs, his resulting unpleasant odor wafted through the mingling guests.

National Love Your Pet Day is all about spoiling and pampering pets. And we, as a nation, certainly do that. According to data from the American Pet Product Association, the money spent on our pets grew to $103.6 billion in 2020 with food and treats making up the biggest portion of the market at $42 billion. Vet care and products were second at $31.4 billion.

Teddy, our dog, and Pip are sure to get an extra treat or two from me on National Love Your Pet Day, although one nudge or rub from either of them usually achieves the desired result.

Karin Spicer is a member of The Dog Writers Association of America. She lives with her family and two furry pets who inspire her. She can be reached at spicerkarin@gmail.com.


Countries that also celebrate the pet holidays.

  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Thailand

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