Americans love their pets. Cutesy statistics abound to measure this attachment. Fifty percent of dog owners and 65 percent of cat owners sleep with their pets. Both boomers and millennials consider pets family. Fifty-seven percent of millennials say pets make them happier than anyone else — it's 50 percent for boomers.
But pet affection can also be measured in economic and stock market data. Since 1960, spending on pets has grown faster than consumer spending overall. Spending on veterinary diagnostics has grown at an even faster clip. IDEXX Laboratories, a publicly traded veterinary health company, has had a 10 percent compound annual growth rate from 2005 to 2015. It is currently trading at an all-time high.
So how to maximize all this spending that Americans do on their pets? One way is by maximizing the pets' life spans through simple, everyday changes — habits that don't have to break the bank.
Almost 37 percent of U.S. households own one or more dogs, and more than 30 percent have at least one cat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Owners need to educate themselves in order to ensure their pets live long and healthy lives.