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‘Pet Parents’ to Spend Big This Holiday Season

Stew Milne

Despite the uncertain state of the economy there is a standout group of big spenders this holiday season: pet owners.

PetSmart's CEO Robert Moran told CNBC's "Closing Bell" the company is grabbing a big share of that spending by selling "pet parents" products to help pets live longer. "We don't sell products, we sell solutions," he said.

The numbers are nothing to bark at; Americans spend an average of $5 billion on their pets during the holidays and more than $50 billion annually, according to the American Pet Owner's Association.

Is Fido on your gift list? PetSmart expects 76 percent of pet owners will buy their pet a holiday gift

People are willing to buy $150 dog collars and $245 cat strollers for their pets. While these price tags might seem high, Moran said, "Our average purchase is an affordable luxury."

With all that money being spent on pets, cats are still getting the short end of the stick. About 53 percent of dogs will receive a holiday gift this year compared with only 38 percent of cats. Moran told CNBC that cat owners are much more value sensitive.

The top holiday gift among PetSmart customers is a Sunbeam Gourmet Dog Treat Maker for $29.99, the CEO said. (Read More: The 12 Days of Christmas More Expensive Than Ever.)

Is there room for PetSmart to grow? If you are betting on housing there might be. Moran told CNBC his company is ready to pounce on a housing recovery, explaining home sales are closely correlated to pet acquisition.

PetSmart shares have enjoyed a nice run over the past 12 months, gaining more than 50 percent.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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