Spending on veterinary services is forecast to rise by 4.5 percent this year and 5 percent in 2014 in another sign of a rebounding U.S. economy, the market research firm Packaged Facts reported.
Veterinary services made up 35 percent of pet industry sales in 2012, the largest piece of an estimated $59.1 billion pie.
Overall, spending in the U.S. pet industry is expected to jump to $61.9 billion in 2013 and $64.9 billion in 2014, the Rockville, Md., research firm projected.
Each segment of the pet industry is projected to grow at rates exceeding inflation, which the federal government estimates at about 2 percent annually.
The spending increase is primarily the result of higher prices, not a significantly larger pet population, the report’s author, David Lummis, noted.
Pets were in about 56 percent of U.S. households in 2011, according to separate studies prepared by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Simmons Market Research Bureau.
While veterinary spending has rebounded over the past five years, to $20.9 billion in 2012, "that increase masks the fact that a slightly smaller percentage of pet households are taking their pets for annual visits,” Lummis cautioned.
The pet industry’s largest category after veterinary services is food, which captured 34 percent of the market in 2012, or $20 billion in receipts. Spending on pet food is expected to rise by 5 percent in 2013 and 4.5 percent next year but still trail veterinary services by $1 billion.
Pet supplies, at $11.5 billion, and nonmedical pet services, at $6.7 billion, made up the remainder of the market in 2012. The latter category includes pet boarding, grooming and training.
Lummis is optimistic that the pet industry will continue to grow, reaching combined sales of $75.1 billion by 2017. He projected veterinary sales to rise at a compound annual rate of 5 to 6 percent beyond 2013.