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.

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

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Source: Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY