U.S. News

Crazy About Pets

By CNBC.com Staff

It's raining cats and dogs -- so to speak -- in Southern California this weekend, where America's Family Pet Expo is pulling in the crowds.

Here's a sampling of Jane Well's coverage from the Orange County Fairgrounds, where the expo is taking place.

Pet Food Push

The industry's largest event is expected to attract 70,000-80,000 people -- most of whom it is safe to say are pet lovers. The rest simply make a living out of the business. And at about $40 billion dollars a year, what a business it is. The recent food contamination scare hasn't hurt sales much, but it has generated some 12,000 complaints to the Food And Drug Administration.

Pets have become a part of the American landsacpe and -- depending how you look at it -- body politic. Some 69 million households alone now have cats.

Big Business of Pets

No wonder then that the pet industry is growing very quickly -- sales have doubled in recent years. One reason for that is what is called the humanization of pets, wherein animals in essence become family members. As Doug Poindexter, executive VP of the Worldwide Pet Industry Association, explains, it's all about pamepring your pets.