Owning a dog is more expensive than ever, but it's not just because average services are increasing in price. It's because pooches are increasingly being considered members of the family, and with that comes the luxuries of modern life, including upscale dining, luxurious hotel stays and tech to fit their own connected lifestyles.
"The pet industry is changing. I almost call it a revolution…. We treat them with the same kind of respect and style of life that we treat each other," said Rick Coffey, president of Indianapolis-based upscale pet lodging and training chain Barkefellers.
Pet360.com editor-in-chief Wendy Toth explained that the sector of pet technology is booming thanks to consumers who want to improve their pets' lives with devices similar to what they themselves are using.
"The two main areas we're seeing is you're adding to the pets' safety or you're adding to their enrichment," Toth said. "That makes for a calmer owner or a calmer pet, so the time they spend together they can focus on one another."
The American Pet Products Association estimates $60.59 billion will be spent on pets in 2015, up about 25 percent from five years ago. More U.S. households own dogs than any other pet. They tend to be the most expensive domestic animal. Basic annual expenses per dog are expected to reach $1,641.
Increasingly more urban couples are opting to become dog owners. A Sylvain Labs report in the fall of 2014 suggested that there was a link between the fact that more city-dwelling couples were getting dogs and more partners waiting until they were older to have kids, as well as the decreased number of children per family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2013, the latest year for which information was available, the average woman was 26 when she had her first child. In 1970, it was a little over 21.