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Despite recession, pet business is still booming, researchers say

June 16, 2009 |  5:18 pm

Melrose Ave. pet store Orange Bone According to the L.A.-based research firm IBISWorld, the pet industry is still booming despite a busting economy.  Pet-related products and services are expected to generate $51.6 billion this year, IBISWorld announced recently; that number represents a 1.3% growth over 2008.  Our colleague Tiffany Hsu has the details on the California Consumer blog:

The veterinary services sector is branching into a wider range of services, offering chiropractics, ophthalmology, dentistry and dermatology, among others. Researchers anticipate that the segment will grow at an average annual rate of 4.3% over the next five years and pull in $22.3 billion this year alone in revenue.

Pet food producers also will grow steadily, making $15.2 billion this year as they experiment with natural and organic products. Demand for premium pet foods, with more owners asking for breed-specific brands and diet ideas, is helping to bolster the section.

Revenue from food, supplies and medicine will help pet stores earn $11.45 billion, with a minor contribution from sales of live animals as controversy builds over puppy mills and an increasing number of homeless animals ending up in shelters.

Pet grooming and boarding businesses will attract $2.69 billion in business in 2009, IBISWorld said.

The research firm also notes another trend that might surprise economy-watchers: It expects the number of pet dogs and cats in the U.S. to increase this year as well.  It predicts a growth of 2.4%, for an approximate total of 169 million dogs and cats.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A bright display of dog apparel at Orange Bone, a pet store on Melrose Ave. in L.A.  Credit: Nancy Pastor

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