Reality Check

Hanrob Pet Hotels Launch 'Petskype'

What we spend on our pets:

Americans spent approximately $61.4 billion in total on their pets in 2011. On average, each U.S. household spent just over $500 on pets. This amounts to about 1 percent of total spending per year for the average household.

Timothy Taylor puts this in perspective:

[T]he World Bank often uses a poverty line of $1.25/day in consumption to measure deep destitution in developing countries. Nearly one-third of the population of South Asia and nearly half the population of Africa has a consumption level below this line.  Over 365 days in a year, $1.25/day works out to $456.25.  Thus, the average U.S. household spends more on pets than the poverty line for humans in the developing world. And the statistics don’t include the fact that pets live rent-free.

(Photo: Henry the dog talks to his owner through Skype on May 13, 2012. Luxury pet accommodation group Hanrob Pet Hotels is launching Petskype so people can watch and even chat to their cats and dogs while travelling interstate or overseas. By Tess Follett/Newspix/Getty Images)