Are Americans Crazy for Treating Pets Like Children?

Susan SalleeThe shopping frenzy has begun. Sweaters, toys and cushy new beds.

All for “other” family members. The pets.

Pictured: Teacher Susan Sallee shops with
her basset hound, Gerdi, during one of their routine visits to
IncrediPet Select pet store in Lexington, Ky .


The season of giving inevitably prompts pet lovers (53% of dog owners
and 38% of cat owners) to gift their animals, often lavishly, says a
survey by the American Pet Products Association.

It also prompts the question: Is there something, well, weird about that?

According to a Kelton Research survey commissioned by Milo’s Kitchen pet treats:

•81% regard their pets as full members of the family.

•58% call themselves their pets’ “mommy” or “daddy.”

•77% buy pets birthday gifts.

•More than half say they talk about pets more than politics or sex.

Well,
grinches, here’s what mental health professionals have to say about all
this pet-loving goofiness: The blatant puppy love much of America is
displaying does not spell the end of society as we know it, and the
pet-obsessed are not pathetically off-kilter humans in need of intense
therapy.

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Source: Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY