For the Love of the Dog

Farley Comic Strip by Phil Frank

Yes they do! And it looks like they shop a lot.

In the spring of 2011 the results of the first-ever National Mutt Census revealed that mutts accounted for more than half (53%) of all pet dogs in American households. In addition, the American Pet Products Association reports that annual spending on pets has steadily increased every year, with the 2011 numbers reaching almost 51 billion dollars. That’s pretty interesting since the economy has been in bad shape for some time now and there have been a lot of cases with people having to give up their pets. But more often for those who are able to keep them, they are cutting back on buying things for themselves in order to continue providing for their dogs. These numbers also serve to validate some current trends here in the US: people are having fewer children, the retiring baby boomers and empty nesters are lavishing affection on their companions, and also people are devoting more resources to better nutrition and care for their dogs overall.

The National Mutt Census results are very interesting and provide a lot of good information. Their website includes an interactive map and you can click on your state to find out all sorts of factoids such as popular breeds, adoption statistics, dogs per household, etc. The census was conducted by a company that provides dog DNA testing, owned by a parent company that also makes Pedigree brand dog food so there were solid marketing reasons for them to do the census. Which is why, I suppose, Pedigree has had a campaign for putting the spotlight on shelter dogs and rescues, because that’s where the money’s heading. This leads me to a little dirty detail: the Westminster Kennel Club nixed Pedigree as a sponsor for their event earlier this year, because this support of the mixed breed shelter dog is threatening to their glitz. On behalf of America’s canine melting pot, I’d like to ask the Westminster Kennel Club: instead of focusing only on “the love of the breed”, shouldn’t your bigger goal be “the love of the dog”?

Check out your state in the National Mutt Census here.
Watch the excellent national television spot, with a kleenex, for Pedigree’s initiative to save shelter dogs here.
For more information on Pedigree’s adoption initiative, click here.
Farley cartoon, copyright Phil Frank.